She-Coronavirus: How cartoonists reflected women health workers during the COVID-19 pandemic

She-Coronavirus: How cartoonists reflected women health workers during the COVID-19 pandemic

Cartoon of the cartoonist Pierre Ballouheypresident of France Cartoonswhich is used in most of the media reports on the study and which represents the nurses this study and depicting nurses with miniskirts and cleavage behind the doctors.

A study by the Universitat de València carried out by Martí Domínguez y Lucía Sapiña entitled “She-Coronavirus: How cartoonists reflected women health workers during the COVID-19 pandemic“, for which 401 cartoons from 36 countries have been analysed, concludes that health professionals are underrepresented in graphic humour about the pandemic and that men are represented with leading roles in the cartoons.

The study, published in the European Journal of Women’s Studies, also highlights the fact that nurses and doctors, when they appear, are often depicted using stereotypes


Women account for 70% of healthcare workers, so their role has been – and still is – fundamental in addressing and managing the current pandemic event caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.

Far from being an opportunity to highlight the importance of women in the field, the healthcare crisis, together with lockdown policies and care responsibilities, have contributed to increase the gender gap.

To study the depiction of women healthcare professionals, this paper analyses 401 cartoons on the COVID-19 pandemic that depict healthcare workers. Most represent doctors as men and nurses as women, in roles subordinate to men. The representation of women is also impacted by stereotypes that do not contribute to better reflect the roles and professional skills of women in the healthcare field today.

Some headlines about this study:

“Women doctors and nurses are underrepresented in graphic humour about covid-19 and appear stereotyped”. Europa Press

“Nurses and doctors, undervalued in graphic humour published on pandemic”. Diario Enfermero

“Nurses and doctors ‘discriminated against’ in the graphic humour about the pandemic” SER

“Sexism spreads with the coronavirus: a Valencian study points out the machism of humorists”. El Español .

Related: Misinformation in the cartoons

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