The majority of voters are female, so why does online politics seem to be so dominated by men? That’s the question looked at by a Hansard Society research report published today and co-written by myself, Andy Williamson and Freddy Fallon:
"The majority of the population – and the electorate – is female. There are female majorities in some areas of politics, including two out of the three audiences for TV debates in the 2010 general election (54.5% on ITV and 52.5%on the BBC). However, at the elected office level, politics is male dominated and comments have often been made about intermediate levels of political involvement, such as political blogging, being male dominated."
There is a small amount of original research (and thank you to Liberal Democrat Voice’s Ryan Cullen for helping provide data for that), but predominantly it’s a review of the existing research out there and the conclusion we come to is:
"The balance between men and women decreases as the inherent level of contention or potential for conflict rises; women are marginally more likely to sign a petition (a passive process) but considerably less likely to stand for Parliament and significantly less likely to make comments on a political blog. This brief study suggests that gender imbalance online is the result of wider political exclusion, not digital exclusion and, where women are active in politics, they are equally as likely as their male counterpartsto be digitally active."
You can read the full report here.