Gender Equality Topics on the Social Media Platform Twitter in 2021 | pp. 162-173 | PDF

Marita Zitmane
University of Latvia

Abstract. Social media has become an important part of the agenda-setting process. Digital platforms have reduced the role of traditional media in agenda-setting and have also expanded the range of agenda-setting actors. Social media provides a platform for public debate about social norms, creates a platform for further revision of norms, promoting awareness of the advantages and disadvantages of current laws and rights. Statistical data on the usage habits of social network platforms in Latvia show that the society is active in using social networks. In Latvia, social media platforms and blogs are the third most popular source of news. Social media offers a rich source of data for insight into public perceptions of certain issues, particularly sensitive or controversial. Social media debates on gender equality can promote comprehension of gender equality, as well as awareness of the consequences of gender inequality. The study evaluates the topics pertaining to gender equality discussed in the social medium Twitter in 2021, using the facilities offered by network analysis. By entering the key phrase ‘gender equality’ into the Twitter search engine, those posts that developed into further discussion and/or resonated in terms of reposts and likes were obtained and selected. The analysis of posts reveals that, albeit indirectly, the discussions on the social medium Twitter address those gender equality areas that have already come into the media’s attention – gender equality initiatives, employment and gender-based violence. The various discussion topics include a theme which depicts gender equality as a rebuke directed at men, rejecting and questioning research-based manifestations of gender inequality. The rejection of gender equality issues raises concerns about the spread of disinformation and false information in the discussion of the issue. Latvia’s Twitter debate on gender equality does not reach the level of influencing policy, but reflects concerns, prejudices and anxiety regarding gender equality in Latvian society.

Keywords: agenda, gender equality, social media, network analysis, Twitter


In: Media and Society, 2022. Proceedings of Scientific Papers = Mediji un sabiedrība, 2022. Rakstu krājums. Riga, University of Latvia, 2023. 173 p.