Politics has historically been dominated by men, and women have only relatively recently been elected to the UK Parliament in significant numbers. In order for women to be effectively represented in the political domain, they must also be adequately represented in the public discussion of political affairs that takes place in the news media. The ways women are depicted in news sends out important messages about their place and role in society and therefore, if women are absent or marginalised in political news, this reinforces their marginal status in the political process. Historically, women have struggled to achieve much visibility in electoral coverage, and by drawing upon data from the Loughborough Communication Research Centre’s real-time analysis of national broadcasting and press coverage, we can see that the 2015 election was no different.
Barely a week passes these days in the UK without a new story and controversy over the Coalition government’s changes and cuts to welfare. One controversial feature is what policy wonks call ‘conditionality’: making eligibility conditional on some prescribed activity (usually) related to work. Most controversial is ‘workfare’: requirements that benefit recipients work full-time while receiving benefits rather than a wage. Many have compared workfare, in this sense, to slavery.