To be honest, this last fact-checking has not been the most difficult that we have done. The claim that we chose seemed easy from the very first moment as it was not about any complex topic. Actually, both of us had doubts about whether if it was a good claim with enough base to dig into.
The numbers that we had to fact-check were easy to find since, nowadays, almost everything is already invented. As soon as we started to do the research, we discovered that there is a European Institute of Gender Equality, were you can find many different statics and numbers regarding on how the European Union countries are doing in gender equality.
So, in the first day of research we had almost everything found. We came cross with the indicator that we needed and with a bar graphic that included all the numbers that we were looking for. We fact checked that Spain has not the most gender equal chamber of deputies, and we were almost done,
However, in this world that usually only looks for the hard-news stories, sometimes it’s important to not forget that an unchallenging story can also tell a lot of different good stories. We fact-checked that Spain has not the most gender equal chamber of deputies, but why don’t we dig into why the news isn’t the number of European Union countries with national assemblies with insignificant numbers of women in them?
What we want to say is that, when we found the claim, we did because Spanish newspapers were focused on Pedro Sánchez’s words in a forum about women MPs. They published the story just to try to prove that the president of the Spanish government was wrong, but no one dig into the story that there is behind it. We don’t want to say that it isn’t necessary to fact check a president’s claim, it is undoubtedly important, but this single story can tell a lot of stories about how in 2021 the European Union countries are doing in terms of gender equality in its institutions.
Is it fair or normal that we don’t talk about why some countries still have less than a 30% of women in their national assembly? How can it be that in 2021 no EU country has more women than men in its national assembly? Should we start thinking about if it would be necessary to implement any regulations to make sure that chambers have gender equality? Pedro Sánchez was wrong, but maybe we were as well, and the story was not as easy as we thought or without a lot of biases to dig into as we said.
RESEARCH | ARTICLE © Marta Vidal and Nicolas Lendl
Blog post for the Cross-national fact check by Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Spain and University of Applied Sciences for Management and Communication, Vienna, Austria during an Erasmus exchange at AP University College Antwerp, Belgium
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