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Comunicar Journal 47: Communication, Civil Society and Social Change (Vol. 24 - 2016)

The representation of workingwomen in Spanish television fiction


Charo Lacalle

Beatriz Gómez


During the sixties and seventies the limited presence of women in the public sphere was reflected in the restricted repertoire of roles played by female characters in television fiction (mainly those of mothers and wives). The strengthening of the feminist movement in the following decades increased and diversified the portrayals of women in the workplace, and further encouraged academic research on the social construction of working women. Despite the relevance of female professionals in current TV shows, the importance of romantic relationships and sexuality has led to a decreasing number of studies on the subject. This article summarizes the results of a study on working women in Spanish TV fiction, part of a larger project on the construction of female identities. The research uses an original methodology that combines quantitative techniques and qualitative methods (socio-semiotics) to analyse the sample of 709 female characters. The results show a coexistence of the traditional stereotypes of working women in customer service and care-giving positions with those of highly skilled female professionals. However, the empowerment of women in positions of responsibility is often associated with a negative portrayal of the character, while the problems of reconciling family and work are systematically avoided.


Television, fiction, woman, gender, feminism, work, analysis, socio-semiotics