Media Representation of Women with Disabilities Affected by COVID-19 Evidence from China

Main Article Content

Ying Xiong
Xiuli Wang


women with disabilities, media representation, COVID-19


Based on the content analysis of news samples from 23 Chinese media outlets, this study examines the media representation of women with disabilities affected by COVID-19. We found that women with disabilities are marginalized, stereotyped, and stigmatized under the combined influence of ableism, sexism, and the pandemic.

Abstract 173 | WORD Downloads 41 PDF Downloads 57


Barnes, C. (1991). Discrimination: Disabled people and the media. Contact, 70 (4),164-172.
Beauchamp-Pryor, K. (2011). Impairment, cure and identity: Where do I fit in. Disability and Society, 26(1), 5-17.
Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2006). Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative research in psychology, 3(2), 77-101.
Briant, E., Watson, W., & Philo, G. (2013). Reporting disability in the age of austerity: The changing face of media representation of disability and disabled people in the United Kingdom and the creation of new “folk devils”. Disability & Society, 28(6), 874-889.
Bu, W., Liu, X., Tian, S., Xiong, Y., Huang, A., & Wu, H. (2019). Media representation study on school-related gender-based violence. Journal of Chinese Women’s Studies, 1, 5-18.
Cai, C. (2016). Rights of persons with disabilities and public communication: Analysis of the top 10 Chinese incidents about the rights of persons with disabilities in 2015. Disability Rights Studies in China, 3(2), 1-26.
Cai, C. & Xiong, Y. (2021). Handbook on media reporting for promoting disability equality in China.
Chang, H., & Wang, J. (2016). From “handicapped” to “disabled”: A content analysis of disability labels and discourse in Taiwanese newspapers, Taiwanese Sociology, 31, 1-41.
China Disabled Persons’ Federation. (2021). The number of Chinese disabled persons in different types and levels of disabilities at the end of 2010.
China Internet Network Information Center. (2020). The 45th China statistical report on internet development.
Fairclough, N. (1995). Media discourse. Edward Arnold.
Feng, J. (2020). Seeing female workers: The female We-media and discourse activism in Covid-19. Shanghai Journalism Review, 10, 32-44.
Fletcher, S., Joe, M. B., Hernandez, S., Toman, I., Harrison, T. G., & Ruzycki, S. M. (2021). The gender of COVID-19 experts in newspaper articles: A descriptive cross-sectional study. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 36(4), 1011-1016.
Gao, Y., & Liu, H. (2016). A Content analysis of news reports on persons with hearing disabilities in People’s Daily. Disability Rights Studies in China, 3(1), 21-41.
Hole, J., & Levine, E. (1971). Rebirth of feminism. Quadrangle.
Humeira, B., & Nurbaya, S. (2017). Framing of women with disabilities on online media. Advances in Social Science. Advances in Social Science, Education and Humanities Research, 153, 116-119.
Jones, L. (2020). Women’s representation and voice in media coverage of the coronavirus crisis.
Kassova, L. (2020). The Missing Perspectives of Women in COVID-19 News: A special report on women’s under-representation in news media.
Liu, B., Bu W., & Chen, X. (1997). Analysis on the gender stereotypes in Chinese TV ads. Journal of Chinese Women’s Studies, 2, 19-24.
Ni, Y. (1998). The politics of representation: Negative constructions of the Other in media. Mass Communication Research, 58, 85-111.
Perreault, W. D., & Leigh, L. E. (1989). Reliability of nominal data based on qualitative judgments. Journal of Marketing Research, 26(2), 135-148.
Robinson, L., Schulz, J., Ragnedda, M., Pait, H., Kwon, K. H., & Khilnani, A. (2021). An unequal pandemic: Vulnerability and COVID-19. The American Behavioral Scientist (Beverly Hills), 65(12), 1603-1607.
Schaefer, R. T. (2011). Sociology. McGraw-Hill.
Thomas, R., Cooper, M., Urban, K. M., et al. (2021). Women in the workplace 2021.
Tuchman, G. (1978). The symbolic annihilation of women by the mass media. In: Crothers L. & Lockhart C. (Eds.), Culture and politics: A reader (pp. 150-174), Palgrave Macmillan.
United Nations. (2020). Policy brief: A disability-inclusive response to COVID-19.
Van Dijk, T. A. (1995). Discourse semantics and ideology. Discourse & Society, 6(2), 243-289.
Van Zoonen, L. (1994). Feminist Media Studies. Sage.
Watson, J., & Hill, A. (2012). Dictionary of Media and Communication Studies. Bloomsbury Academic.
Xiong, Y. (2022). The marginalized groups in the COVID-19 pandemic: A media representation study on 23 Chinese media. The Post-Doctoral Research Report of Peking University (unpublished).
Xiong, Y., Wang, X. (2021). Persons with disabilities in COVID-19 news coverage: Based on a perspective of media representation. Disability Research, 4, 44-54.
Zhang, Z. (2020). Reconstruction of the female identity by the story of Mulan under COVID-19. Dynamics of Social Sciences, 9, 40-45.
Zhou, Y., Zhang, C., & Chen Z. (2021). Analysis of media communication on social integration of disabled in the context of COVID-19 pandemic. Disability Research, 2, 81-89.