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Just the Facts? Media Coverage of Female and Male High Court Appointees in Five Democracies

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  26 May 2016

Maria C. Escobar-Lemmon
Texas A&M University
Valerie Hoekstra
Arizona State University
Alice Kang
University of Nebraska–Lincoln
Miki Caul Kittilson
Arizona State University


In this article, we examine gender differences in news media portrayals of nominees to high courts and whether those differences vary across country and time. Although past research has examined gender differences in news media coverage of candidates for elective office, few studies have looked at media coverage of high court nominees. As women are increasingly nominated to courts around the world, it is important to examine how nominations are covered by the news media and whether there is significant variation in coverage based on gender. We analyze media coverage of high court justices in five democracies: Argentina, Australia, Canada, South Africa, and the United States. We compare coverage of women appointed to the highest court with coverage of the most temporally proximate male nominees. We also compare coverage over time within each country as well as between countries that nominated women early with those that did so more recently. We find some evidence of gendered coverage, especially with regard to the attention paid to the gender of the women appointees.

Thematic Issue: Women, Media, and Politics in a Comparative Perspective
Copyright © The Women and Politics Research Section of the American Political Science Association 2016 

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