With Twitter playing an increasing role in shaping political debates around the world, a new study of American political journalists has shown how male journalists use the microblogging site to increase their influence, while pushing their female peers to the margins of political discussion.
The researchers found that among the journalists accredited to cover the US Congress, known as Beltway Journalists, male journalists amplify and engage male peers almost exclusively, while female journalists tend to engage most with each other.
Male political journalists reply to other male journalists 91.5 per cent of the time, showed the findings to be published in the International Journal of Press/Politics.
The findings suggest that women political journalists get less attention on the microblogging site.
For the study, the researchers looked at 2,292 Twitter accounts belonging to Washington DC-based journalists who are accredited to cover the US Congress, The Guardian reported on Sunday.
While the difference between the numbers of male and female journalists is not starkly high, men dominate the Twitter space with higher number of tweets, have on an average twice as many followers and they are also likely to retweet each other.
“The gender imbalances present on beltway journalism Twitter are another case showing women do not receive adequate recognition or attention for their creative labour,” the report said.
This “may well create an even greater structural disadvantage for female journalists, given how this platform is so critical to success in beltway journalism”, the report added.
It was a problem because debate on Twitter helped frame political reporting on other websites and as a result, the site could be inadvertently marginalising female journalists in “gender silos”, the Guardian mentioned one of the study authors, Nikki Usher of the University of Illinois, as saying.