Study: Women Know Less About Politics

Sadly, but perhaps not surprisingly, a survey by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) has found that women worldwide know less than men about politics.

Ready for the really sad part? Women living in developed countries that promote gender equality, such as the U.S. and United Kingdom, either have equal—or even wider—knowledge gaps.

Ladies, it's 2013. Clearly we need to step our game up: as a female journalist covering politics, this broke my heart.

The survey questioned men and women from 10 different countries, including Australia, Canada, Colombia, Greece, Italy, Japan, Korea, Norway, the U.S., and the United Kingdom.

10,000 participants were asked about hard and soft news, and regardless of the country, data showed that women answered incorrectly more often than men when it came to hard news.

How can this be?

The article hypothesizes that because women are often less likely to take risks, they may have chosen the answer "I don't know" instead of guessing and answering incorrectly on the survey.

Of course, the disparity could also be explained by women viewing keeping up with news as a luxury they don't have: "Women have less time to keep up with current affairs in their 30s and 40s as they spend most of their leisure time looking after family and doing housework," the article hypothesized.

Or, perhaps this gap exists because our news (and the people who make it) is often gender biased. This bias "plays an important role in gender gaps and underlines the serious lack of visibility of women in TV and newspaper coverage," The Guardian argues.

In fact, Jane Martinson, editor for The Guardian, conducted research in the United Kingdom that found 78 percent of front page bylines were by male writers, and 84 percent of "those quoted or mentioned by name in the lead stories" were men.

I can understand why women who don't see a fair representation of female reporters or bylines may not be as interested in the news. After all, if viewers and readers don't feel as if they can connect or relate to reporters, it may be unfair to expect them to show any interest in their stories. And if the media continues to be dominated by men, perhaps that means many women will continue to feel unwelcome.

Here's to changing that.