Lecture on 'Media Reinforcement of the Role of Women in Environmental Protection'

  • 12 September 2012

The role of the family in protecting our environment – and the role played by the media in that context – is an important proposition in light of the importance of media today and the position of the woman as the mother of society. Women play an important and strategic role in promoting the values of environmental safety and offer a supportive role in protecting the environment from waste and pollution—hence the importance of this study and lecture comes from the correlation between women and the media and its effects on the culture of environmental preservation among women.

The environment is defined as a set of physical and biological systems in which humans and other organisms inhabit. Women represent half of our society and shoulder the responsibility of child birth and raising a family in a safe environment in order to ensure the health of family members, thus minimizing the rates of physical and mental illnesses. Moreover, women play a leading and a vital role in society as the strategic partner to men in achieving progress and sustainable development. This lecture focuses on the role of media in promoting the mission of women in environmental protection through a clarification of the concept of environmental media; highlighting the balanced relationship between women and the environment; and answering the question: how does media in all its forms (audiovisual, print, electronic and educational) contribute to the promotion of the mission of women in environmental protection? The lecture also makes reference to a number of Arab, regional and international experiments in achieving the objectives of the media’s role. In accordance with academic best practice, a list of recommendations has been added at the end of the lecture to serve as a road map for the role of the media in enhancing women’s participation in environmental and sustainable development.

To discuss the role of media in enhancing women’s participation in environmental protection, one should be fully aware that the primary agent responsible for this mission is the environmental media, which must perform this task in an impartial, objective, transparent and appropriate manner. However, what is meant by the environmental media? It is a combination of two broad terms: media and environment. “Media” is the objective, honest and truthful translation of facts and events into news that allow individuals to form a sound opinion about any topic.

“Environment” is the total of all circumstances and factors, living or non-living, that surround and influence the life of an individual. The media is essential to environmental preservation because environmental awareness and access to knowledge necessary to tackle environmental issues depend on the transfer of information and the willingness of women – who are the main topic of this study – to convey new values or to advocate renouncing existing forms of behavior. Therefore, the current bodies responsible for environmental awareness, child upbringing and education should design programs using different approaches to communicate and educate about environmental problems in ways that make each woman an active, positive and effective participant in environmental preservation. In short, the environmental media means using all forms (print, radio, television etc.) to raise the awareness of citizens and provide access to all available information about environmental concerns in order to allow people to form well-rounded and informed opinions on these issues.

Women and the environment are bound by an inseparable relationship. The importance of this comes from the close connection of women with raising and educating generations of children and the female role in cultivating sound environmental concepts in children from an early age. Women also have a role in determining family patterns of behavior when it comes to water and electricity consumption, among others, which affect the environment. In addition, it is well known that women play an essential role in protecting the environment from pollution since they are keen to preserve the health and safety of their families. In this sense, women can play a two-pronged role; firstly, to foster environmental awareness in their children and teach them practices that preserve the environment. Secondly, exerting pressure on society and environment-related agencies to draw up clear environmental policies, enact enhancing laws, and apply them appropriately.

Women’s participation in environmental preservation is considered one of the essentials for integrated development since there can be no development in a contaminated environment and no development without women’s contribution. This highlights an irrefutable fact that it is impossible to separate women within society as an isolated group since they undertake an essential role in environment management and in promoting sustainable development. Such is the essential contribution that women make, it therefore deserves special attention at the national, regional and global levels of environment protection. Women are more concerned than men about the state of the earth and the fate of future generations— a natural consequence of the fact that women are often the first to suffer from environment deterioration and the first to demand change.

In practice, there are multiple roles that women can take on. Women are important environmental educators and can teach children behaviors that lead to significant savings in food, water and energy consumption. Hence, education becomes essential in enhancing the role of women and their effective participation in environmental protection and natural resources conservation. Women have played, and will continue to play, a pivotal role in societal development and the world would fully benefit if it used women’s capabilities to protect the environment. The point of explaining this inseparable relationship between women and the environment is to highlight its strength and durability to the world of media so it can perform its role competently in environmental protection through a set of appropriate media formats and approaches.

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