The ‘bad women drivers’ myth: The overrepresentation of female drivers and gender bias in China’s media.
Refereed Article, 2020
Li, M., & Luo, Z. (2020). The ‘bad women drivers’ myth: The overrepresentation of female drivers and gender bias in China’s media. Information, Communication & Society, 23(5), 776–793.
The body of literature on underrepresentation and gender inequality is vast. However, despite its potential to perpetuate gender stereotypes, the overrepresentation of women in media has received inadequate attention. This study explores how traditional news media and social media overrepresent females as drivers when discussing traffic accidents, and whether social media could be the ‘new equalizer’ for gender. Focusing on China, we collected 97,120 posts from Weibo, China’s largest microblogging site, and 11,290 newspaper articles dated between January 2010 and November 2018. We analyzed the data through a mixed-methods design and found that female drivers are overrepresented in discussions of traffic accidents, in both newspapers and on Weibo. While the gender bias against female drivers is more prevalent on Weibo than in newspapers, Weibo has provided a platform for gender-aware discussion. Our study closes by offering suggestions for cross-platform and cross-cultural comparisons of gender representation in the digital age.