It is common knowledge that the devastating impacts of climate change are always felt more by women, minorities and people living in poverty in wealthy nations and in Third World countries. But guess what? Most climate change research is undertaken by male scientists, leaving the voices of those most at risk from runaway climate change hardly heard at all.
It shouldn’t be this way, and this set-up needs to change.
We need to see more women doing climate research, publishing their climate research, being interviewed on TV about their climate research and being invited to international forums on climate change as guest speakers and keynoters.
A few years ago, in London, the ”Under Her Eye: Women and Climate Change” meeting was an international arts and science conference and festival run by Invisible Dust, an organization that worked with artists and scientists to explore different ways of communicating and responding to climate change.
”Under Her Eye” was unique in that it featured only female speakers who were working to communicate, research or address climate change. Speakers included Hakima El Haite, Moroccan Minister for the Environment, Laura Tenebaum, former Senior Science Editor, NASA Jet Propulsion Lab, Kate Raworth, author of ”Doughnut Economicsand Renegade Economist,” and Canadian author Margaret Atwood, the famous novelist and in fact the inspiration for the conference’s title of “Under Her Eye.”
The aim of ”Under Her Eye,” according to Atwood, was to give the platform of communicating and discussing climate change to those who are so often underrepresented in these discussions, namely women, activists, artists, and researchers working in the arts and humanities.
Inspired by the the first ”Under Her Eye” conference, a second conference has been organized now to focus on the exploration of marginalized voices and alternative perspectives on climate change in an academic context, focusing on the contributions of postgraduate and early career researchers.
This conference, titled ”A Hostile Climate? Multidisciplinary Perspectives on Climate Change,” aims to interrogate and respond to the meaning of ‘‘hostile climates.’’
Like the first ”Under Her Eye” conference, this new iteration will explore the many different facets of climate change and related environmental catastrophes through the lens of different artistic disciplines
One of the keynote speakers chosen for the conference is Professor Julie Doyle who is based in the School of Media at the University of Brighton in the UK. Her work examines the role of media, communication and culture in shaping understandings of, and responses to, climate change.
Professor Doyle’s work focuses on visual communications, and examines the limitations and successes of visual communications in helping make climate change a relevant issue and inspiring engaged and effective action. Professor Doyle is the author of the book ”Mediating Climate Change,” and has been a key figure in establishing the genre of environmental communication.
Dr. Doyle, during her ”Under Her Eye” fellowship, ran a seminar inspired by her research, which later became one of the inspirations for the organization of ”A Hostile Climate.”
So yes, let’s see more women participating in climate conferences around the world. Let’s hear more female voices as novelists, playwrights, poets, performance artists, visual artists, TV talking heads and film directors. Men do not need to step aside, but they need to make room, make room, for women. The conversation from now on should be more balanced. Men can help. Women can step up to the plate. We are living in a whole new world, and it’s a whole new ballgame.