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Women politicians are more engaging: male versus female politicians’ ability to generate users’ engagement on social media during an election campaign

February 2018

Moran Yarchi , Tal Samuel-Azran


This article analyzes the difference between male and female politician’s abilities to generate user engagement on social media during the week leading up to the 2015 Israeli election. The study found that, despite the fact that male politicians received more salient coverage in the traditional media, Facebook engagement was higher for female politicians, despite the fact that politicians of both sexes post at about equal rates. Both men and women received about the same number of comments on their posts, but women received far more likes and shares.

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Policy Implications

In traditional media, female candidates generally receive less coverage, and the coverage that they do receive is often stereotypical (based on their appearance, personal life, or thoughts on gender issues). However, social media provides a supportive environment for politicians that allows them to focus on the issues that they find important and to engage with the public. Therefore, when conducting media campaigns, female politicians should focus on social media as it is a better tool for them to be able to reach the public.

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