About this Research Topic
Women have struggled for centuries to achieve political standing equal to that of men. Philosophical, practical, religious, and even physiological arguments have been used to impose barriers upon women seeking empowerment beyond the domestic sphere. Yet, women have persevered and have battled on many fronts to overcome the innumerable hurdles placed in front of them. They have also endeavored to remove obstacles for their successors. Much of women’s work toward achieving political parity has been through communicative actions. From rallies, marches, and strikes, to speeches, editorials, and full-fledged campaigns, as well as through various other private and public undertakings, women’s voices in the public sphere have expanded significantly. Progress has been made, but much remains to be done.
Scholars studying the impacts of women’s communication in and about the public sphere have approached the issue of women’s political (dis)empowerment from various perspectives. Some have examined the historically persistent and systematic disenfranchisement of female citizens; explicated efforts by women to attain basic rights such as being able to speak in public, to vote, to attain an education, and to have control over one’s own body; and interrogated aspects of contemporary political campaigns for specific female candidates as well as for women’s rights on a micro and macro level. Research in this area ranges from globally focused to hyper-local in nature, but the underlying themes frequently revolve around the importance of women’s communicative actions as a driver of social and political change.
This subject area offers a space for expanding our understandings about and interpretations of women as political actors by examining the communicative behaviors of women as individuals, a collective, or any subset of the whole. Scholars who explore women as active citizens in various public contexts are invited to submit their work to this Research Topic in Frontiers in Communication/Frontiers in Sociology. “Women as Political Actors: A Communication Perspective” spotlights assessments of women’s past, present, and potential future impacts on the world as political actors broadly conceived. All methodological approaches are welcome, as are interdisciplinary studies that explore the cross sections of politics, gender/women’s studies, sociology, and communication.
A small sample of potential areas that might be explored include:
• The women’s suffrage movement
• Campaigns to expand female access to education globally
• How women candidates are covered at the local, state, and national level
• “Mother” tropes in reference to candidates, voters, and prominent women in political campaigns
• The impact of #MeToo on perceptions of men and women, or male/female relations, in the political sphere
• Various aspects of the Women’s March
• The Equal Rights Amendment—its history, its successes and failures, and its resurgence in 2019
• Equal pay campaigns
• The impact of social media on women’s access to and activities in the public sphere
• The histories and impacts of various women activists
• Women’s voices (or lack thereof) in health care debates
Keywords: women and politics, feminist studies, gender equality, women’s activism, women’s history, female empowerment
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.