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Investigating public discourses around gender and COVID-19: a social media analysis of Twitter data

Al-Rawi, Ahmed, Grepin, Karen, Li, Xiaosu, Morgan, Rosemary, Wenham, Clare ORCID: 0000-0001-5378-3203 and Smith, Julia (2021) Investigating public discourses around gender and COVID-19: a social media analysis of Twitter data. Journal of Healthcare Informatics Research, 5 (3). 249 - 269. ISSN 2509-498X

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Identification Number: 10.1007/s41666-021-00102-x


We collected over 50 million tweets referencing COVID-19 to understand the public’s gendered discourses and concerns during the pandemic. We filtered the tweets based on English language and among three gender categories: men, women, and sexual and gender minorities. We used a mixed-method approach that included topic modelling, sentiment analysis, and text mining extraction procedures including words’ mapping, proximity plots, top hashtags and mentions, and most retweeted posts. Our findings show stark differences among the different genders. In relation to women, we found a salient discussion on the risks of domestic violence due to the lockdown especially towards women and girls, while emphasizing financial challenges. The public discourses around SGM mostly revolved around blood donation concerns, which is a reminder of the discrimination against some of these communities during the early days of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Finally, the discourses around men were focused on the high death rates and the sentiment analysis results showed more negative tweets than among the other genders. The study concludes that Twitter influencers can drive major online discussions which can be useful in addressing communication needs during pandemics.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2021 The Authors, under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Switzerland AG
Divisions: Health Policy
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN1990 Broadcasting
Date Deposited: 14 Oct 2021 14:57
Last Modified: 17 Nov 2021 01:05

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