Dismissive encounter : coverage of women in The guardian, 1949-1986

Quantitative content analysis was used to examine coverage of women in a weekly Marxist-Leninist newspaper. A stratified random sample of stories on all topics in three issues from each year of the study was analyzed for variables dealing with both mechanics and contents. Coverage of women was compared to that of men and to overall coverage. The study sought to identify what impact the women's movement had had on coverage of women in the Guardian. The direct impact of the movement was found to be limited to the period from 1967 to 1971 when coverage of women underwent considerable change, mainly in that the amount of coverage increased greatly and the range of topics related to women expanded significantly. Although language used in the Guardian up until 1967 was much less sexist than that in establishment media, after 1967 such usage all but disappeared from the paper. In every period female-authored stories treated women more equitably than did stories written by men, but in spite of women's greatly increased presence in public life in the 1970s, they continued into the mid-1980s to be much less visible in the Guardian than men. During every period of the study coverage of women focused on class rather than sex. Women as workers was the most important topic of women's stories, with aspects of the private lives of women gaining some ground during the 1970s.