Santia co-authors paper on campaign messages in gendered political climates

Martina Santia, a postdoctoral scholar in research and creative activity, co-authored the paper, “Gendered times: how gendered contexts shape campaign messages of female candidates” with Nichole M Bauer of Louisiana State University. The paper was published in the Journal of Communication.


We develop and test a theory of gendered political times, which argues that the gendered political climate during an election shapes the extent to which female candidates emphasize feminine or masculine traits in campaign messages. We measure gendered electoral contexts through rigorous analyses of public opinion data and news media content of the top issues during an election, and we complement these data with an analysis of the gendered traits candidates emphasize in campaign messages during U.S. congressional election cycles from 2000 through 2018. Our results suggest that feminine electoral contexts do not necessarily lead female candidates, or male candidates, to rely on feminine traits. We find that masculine electoral contexts lead female candidates to rely more heavily on feminine traits. Our results have important implications for understanding the forces that shape the way candidates develop strategic campaign messages, and the factors that ultimately influence women’s under-representation in politics.