Good girls don't comment on politics? Gendered character of online political participation in the Czech Republic

The article aims to contribute to the still relatively unexplored area of the relationship between gender and online political participation. Using two complementary methods – a representative, post-election survey of the adult Czech population and a content analysis of communication on the selected Czech political parties’ Facebook profiles during the campaign for the 2013 Parliamentary Elections – we attempt to challenge some established assumptions regarding the allegedly equalizing effect of the Internet and social media on participatory behaviour of men and women. While survey data discovered subtle yet statistically significant differences between men and women in some online expressive activities on Facebook, mainly commenting on other users’ statuses, content analysis further revealed that there are not only notable gender gaps among the Facebook users who commented on the campaign, but also differences in the tone of communication produced by the respective gender groups, with men posting more negative comments addressed to parties as well as to other Facebook users. We suggest that these results question the prevailing perception about the narrowing of the ‘gender gap’ in the online environment and call for a more nuanced methodological approach to different forms of online political expression.