Africa: Reporting Climate Change With a Gender Lens

Africa Zalingei, West Darfur - women carrying wood

From a journalism perspective there is a tendency of becoming overly technical when addressing climate changes.

A useful way of reporting on this topic is to find cases in which the effects of climate change are being directly experienced and to tell the stories of the people affected. It is important to recognise that women experience the impacts of global climate change in a different manner from men.

UN Women describes women’s vulnerability to climate change as follows: “In many of these contexts, women are more vulnerable to the effects of climate change than men – primarily as they constitute the majority of the world’s poor and are more dependent for their livelihood on natural resources that are threatened by climate change.

Furthermore, they face social, economic and political barriers that limit their coping capacity. Women and men in rural areas in developing countries are especially vulnerable when they are highly dependent on local natural resources for their livelihood.

Those charged with the responsibility to secure water, food and fuel for cooking and heating face the greatest challenges. Secondly, when coupled with unequal access to resources and to decision-making processes, limited mobility places women in rural areas in a position where they are disproportionately affected by climate change.”


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International Federation of Journalists (IFJ)

The IFJ and the World Association of Christian Communications published in 2012 a learning toolkit on gender ethical journalism. A whole chapter is dedicated to reporting climate change with a gender lens.

It documents specific issues journalists should bear in mind when covering climate change and provides a series of tips and  guidelines to fair gender portrayal in covering this topic.

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