Female political leadership styles as shown on Instagram during COVID-19
Keywords:Political communication, female leadership, personalisation, Instagram, stereotypes, COVID-19.
This paper explores the leadership styles of fourteen elected female politicians in executive government positions, as
communicated through the official Instagram accounts that were in use during the COVID-19 pandemic. Seven of them
are, or were, heads of government, six are or were mayors, and one is the president of an autonomous region in Spain.
These women are Angela Merkel (Germany), Jacinda Ardern (New Zealand), Sanna Marin (Finland), Mette Frederiksen
(Denmark), Erna Solberg (Norway), Katrin Jakobsdottir (Iceland), Tsai Ing-Wen (Taiwan), Anne Hidalgo (Paris), Virginia
Raggi (Rome), Ada Colau (Barcelona), Claudia López (Bogotá), Claudia Sheinbaum (Mexico City), London Breed (San
Francisco) and Isabel Díaz Ayuso (Madrid Region). A comparative content analysis of 2,330 units was conducted over a
6-month period. The study analyses the hard or soft leadership style conveyed by the women politicians selected in relation
to four variables: political ideology, generational affiliation, level of government and techniques used in communication.
The results show that the values of the variables affect leadership styles; therefore, the assumption that all female politicians
have a single leadership style is erroneous and related to gender stereotyping.
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