, Volume 40, Issue 7-8, pp 527-544

Recognition and Respect: A Content Analysis of Prime-Time Television Characters Across Three Decades

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Abstract

This content analysis of week-long samples ofprime-time network dramatic programs broadcast betweenthe fall of 1967 and the spring of 1998 found thatwomenconsistently receive less recognition than men on television. While programs broadcast in the1990's had more women than those broadcast in the 1960'sand early 1970's, the women were still under representedin relation to their numbers in the U.S. population. There has been, however, somechange in the amount and degree of respect given towomen on prime time. While women are still categorizedas younger than their male counterparts, over the past 30 years more women are presented as employedoutside the home and the percentage of women cast inmore prestigious occupations has increased considerably.Whereas in the 1970's about a quarter of the women were depicted in traditionally femaleoccupations such as teachers or nurses, during the1980's and 1990's a smaller portion of the women werecast in these jobs. In contrast, the percent of women intraditional male or genderneutral jobs increasedsignificantly from the 1970's to the 1990's.