Sex Roles

, Volume 70, Issue 1–2, pp 57–71 | Cite as

Perpetuating Gender Inequality via the Internet? An Analysis of Women’s Presence in Spanish Online Newspapers

  • Ruth Mateos de CaboEmail author
  • Ricardo Gimeno
  • Miryam Martínez
  • Luis López
Original Article


This study examines women’s representation in Spanish national online newspapers. For this purpose, we developed an automatic content analysis method to analyze an extensive sample of 34,235 news articles gathered from March to May 2006. Our general objective was to investigate possible gender bias in Spanish online news. To do so we focused on three journalistic routines, one at the individual level of the reporter (gender) and two at the media routine level (sections, publication day, and article length). The results of the estimated multivariate models revealed that women are still linked to traditionally “female” sections, such as people, society, and culture. Analysis of article length and publication day showed that women appear more frequently in shorter news items and in the Sunday news, which we interpreted as indicators of male association with newsworthiness. We also found differences in gender reporting since female journalists tend to include more women in the news they report than their male peers. These results provide evidence that online newspapers continue to perpetuate underrepresentation, stereotyping, and discrimination of women in web news thereby reinforcing gender inequality.


Online newspapers Gender representation Stereotypes Internet Automatic content analysis Equality 



Authors are very thankful to the editor Irene H. Frieze and the anonymous referees, as well as to Juan José Güemes, David Quintana, Mª Aránzazu Mielgo, Paloma Saá, Manuela Saco, Francisco Massó and Pablo Montero for their comments and support. Authors also thank the assistants to El Escorial Summer School (UCM), the 3rd Gender Equality Workshop (Alicante Council), the XXIII AEDEM Annual Meeting, and the 10th Women’s World Conference for their comments and suggestions.

This research was initially supported by the Ministry of Employment and Women’s Affairs (Regional Government of Madrid). Professor Ruth Mateos has received financial support of the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (grant ECO2012-32554). Professor Luis López has received financial support of the Regional Government of Madrid under project CLOUDS (grant S2009-TIC-1692).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ruth Mateos de Cabo
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ricardo Gimeno
    • 2
  • Miryam Martínez
    • 1
  • Luis López
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Management & Business AdministrationUniversidad CEU San Pablo28003Spain
  2. 2.Research DepartmentBanco de EspañaMadridSpain
  3. 3.Department of ComputingUniversidad Rey Juan CarlosMadridSpain

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