An analysis of data from the Zurich Cantonal Council shows that men and women in the council speak and set different agenda items. Since the last elections, the number of women in the council has reached an all-time high, however, men still dominate the debate. According to 1100 session protocols and 10,600 proposals analyzed by the NZZ, men speak more than women. Furthermore men tend to speak more often on finance, taxes, and transportation, while women dominate debates on education, healthcare issues and handling LGBT-phobic attacks.
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For our data analysis, we used the verbatim records of the Cantonal Council, all of which are provided as PDFs. These were read out automatically. For this purpose, a program was written that can assign which cantonal councilor spoke and when based on text formatting. The proposals were downloaded via the open interface of the cantonal council.
The article is accompanied by animated illustrations at the beginning of each chapter, which provide a lighter introduction to each topic. In addition, the text is accompanied by matching data visualizations that present our key findings in a more tangible way.
Another element that emerged from this data analysis is a separate article that makes data on the share of speech by women and men in the Zurich Cantonal Council instrumentally audible.
Context about the project:
What can other journalists learn from this project?
Data can be thought of in multiple layers, as here, for example, as a piece set to music. This can also be used as a method in the analysis.