• Katrine Thirup Jørgensen
  • Ida Marie Spanggaard
4. term, Communication, Master (Master Programme)
The mass media are one of the most influential and powerful sources of information, ideas, and opinions for the public. As such, mentions of persons (or lack thereof) as well as the media’s selection of the covered subject matter and the framing of persons and events may potentially influence the general perception and opinion on the subject matter amongst the public. Previous research has established and criticised the underrepresentation of women in the news media. Furthermore, it has been proven that gender stereotypes are reinforced in the media coverage of women.

The purpose of this master thesis is to contribute to the field of research by examining the media coverage of the specific group of Danish female chief executive officers (CEOs) in comparison to their male counterparts. The thesis analyses and compares the media coverage of CEOs in relations to frequency, framing, gender stereotypes, and the role of mass media in the reproduction of binary gender stereotyping.

Design, methodology, and approach
The method of this thesis is threefold. Firstly, it is based on a quantitative and auto-generated analysis of the frequency of mentions of female and male CEOs in the Danish news media (Data sheet 1). The quantitative analysis researches the top 200 of the top-1000 CEOs in Denmark according to the Danish business newspaper Berligske. Secondly, the thesis will draw on a quantitative content analysis of the Danish media coverage of 14 female and 14 male CEOs carefully chosen from the top-1000 list (Data sheet 2). The 28 CEO candidates are selected and matched up on the basis of company revenue as well as industry. This will secure a level playing field between the male and female candidates and thus ensure the most equal basis for comparison. The coding (registration of data) of articles in Data sheet 2 will revolve around 7 deductive CEO-frames, CEO-visibility, construction of gender, picture analysis, and finally the personal dimensions of the CEO performance. The aforementioned parameters for article coding draws on theorists Judith Butler, Roland Barthes, and Irving Goffman as well as previous research on CEO-image and framing. Thirdly and finally, the thesis will analyse six qualitative cases selected from Data sheet 2. The three-part study design will enable the authors to study the CEO media coverage in both width and depth. This design thus facilitates findings that are both representative for all the Danish top CEOs and detail-oriented for specific cases in this particular thesis.

In total, the authors quantified 39.000 articles in data sheet 1, and analysed 4.088 articles in data sheet 2 published between 1 October 2019 and 1 November 2020. Based on our analysis, we have found that female CEOs are underrepresented in the Danish media. In Data sheet 1 the female CEOs were mentioned in 166 articles on average, while the male average was 200 articles. 40 % of the total media coverage in Data sheet 2 was related to the female CEOs while the majority, 60 %, pertained to the male CEOs. Furthermore, our data suggest that not only is there a problem with visibility when it comes to the media coverage of female CEOs, our thesis also finds that media text falls into traditional, gender-stereotyped patterns. The media coverage is characterised by homogeneity, and the media, therefore, plays a significant role in reproducing, and sustaining these stereotypic gendered patterns in their presentation and construction of CEOs.
Publication date4 Jan 2021
Number of pages129
External collaboratorInfomedia
No Name vbn@aub.aau.dk
ID: 397840563