Insiders Versus Outsiders: A Comparative Study of Female Politician’s Social Media use




Female politician, self-presentation, social media, insider/outsider, policy


In the past, the media had a tendency to neglect women's issues, thereby restricting their visibility concerning development endeavours and political representation. However, this is changing due to technological advancements. Social media offers female politicians access to millions of users, freedom to interact directly with the electorate, bypass gatekeepers and opportunities for self-promotion. This research aims to investigate female politicians' social media use during their legislative terms with a focus on their self-presentation and the policy issues they support. The study involves content analysis of six female politicians from countries with a much lower female representation than their regional counterparts; three from Kenya and three from Hungary who have the highest number of followers on Twitter and Facebook respectively. The data was collected over a three-month period. The visuals were coded using 3 variables based on the insider and outsider perspective (Gulati 2004) while the text was coded in accordance with the 21 policy agendas defined by the Comparative Agendas Project codebook (Baumgartner 2019). The results indicate that a majority of female politicians in both countries, in the ruling parties presented themselves as insiders while those in the opposition presented themselves as outsiders. The insiders were majorly characterized by wearing of formal clothing, an important element of statesmanship, that portrays them as ideal candidates. In addition, the insiders' social media use was characterized by original content while outsiders reshared articles and retweets. Both Kenyan and Hungarian female politicians addressed women related policy issues. There were however some differences in social media use and self-presentation between the female politicians of the two countries such as the sharing of personal information and family pictures. The limitation of this study is that it does not fully represent the views and use of social media of all female politicians in Kenya and Hungary.

Author Biography

Zipporah M. Mwangi, Corvinus University of Budapest

Zipporah Mwangi is a PhD student at the Doctoral School of Sociology & Communication Science, Department of Communication Science in Corvinus University of Budapest, Hungary. Her research area is on social media, social media influencers, cultural production, beauty and the youth.