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Beyond Likes & Shares: Social Media Amplifying Women's Voices in Climate Resilience Discourse


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'A transformational undercurrent sweeping South Asia' - GRRIPP South Asia's Communication Lead, Masuma Moriom, discusses the importance and role of social media in gender and climate justice in South Asia.


Social media arises as a powerful force in an era characterized by interconnectedness, working as a catalyst for change and offering a priceless forum for the resonance of disadvantaged voices. In the complex fabric of South Asia, where the impending effects of climate change are a major shadow, women are skillfully utilizing these digital spaces. They passionately promote climate resilience by amplifying their voices and sharing moving stories. A transformational undercurrent is sweeping South Asia in the ever-evolving world of social media, where knowledge is shared faster than thought and goes beyond popular hashtags and trends. This represents a significant change as women increasingly use social media, especially in the crucial field of advocating for climate resilience. This blog takes a trip, exploring the real stories of women who have not only accepted but also skillfully used social media to drive meaningful change in the conversation on climate resilience of promoting climate resilience.


A transformational undercurrent sweeping South Asia

Unveiling the Realities:

Women frequently face the most difficult obstacles in South Asia, a region that is severely affected by climate change. Women are disproportionately impacted by rising sea levels, changing agricultural practices and an increase in the frequency of extreme weather events. But social media has changed the game by providing a forum for these women to share their experiences, wisdom, and creative fixes.


The Power of the Hashtag:

masuma holding a sign reading hashtag women 4 climate action
#Women4ClimateAction Movement through Facebook in 2020; Photo Credit: Author

One hashtag, #Women4ClimateAction, has gained traction among the myriad of campaigns. South Asian women have banded together behind this digital call to action, bringing them together for a shared cause. Women use this hashtag to convey not just the struggles they encounter, but also their resiliency and contributions to environmentally friendly activities.


Stimulating conversations that extend beyond virtual space

Voices in 280 Characters:

With its concise yet powerful structure, Twitter has emerged as a hub for South Asian women to share their perspectives on climate resilience. The site is filled with inspiring tales of women from far-off communities using creative solutions to stop climate change, which strengthens the bonds of camaraderie and unity.


Advocacy through Twitter; Source - @LicypriyaK

From Challenges to Solutions

Several forms of social media enable women to share their unique challenges in adapting to climate change. Whether limited resources, educational barriers, or struggles to actively participate in decision-making processes, these meetings serve as soundtracks to shared experiences and, moreover, it facilitates collaborative solutions, and stimulates conversations that extend beyond the virtual space.


Community Building in Cyberspace:

In the vast landscape of Facebook, communities dedicated to women in climate resilience have emerged as virtual sanctuaries. Here, women from diverse backgrounds share their stories, discuss challenges and pool their collective wisdom. These online communities foster a sense of belonging and provide a space for women to connect, educate, and collectively advocate for policy changes that meet their specific needs.


Directing the Narrative:

The impact of social media extends beyond just words; It has become a means of communicating directly with policymakers. South Asian women, armed with data, research and compelling narrative, are using platforms like LinkedIn to connect with decision makers. This direct engagement not only highlights the unique challenges women face in climate resilience, but also influences policy issues at the regional and national levels.


Impact beyond Likes and Shares:

The impact of this digital advocacy goes beyond the virtual realm. Women-led businesses that gained momentum on social media translated into tangible actions on the ground. Whether community-led reforestation projects or the implementation of sustainable agricultural practices, the ripple effects of digital are increasingly visible on the physical landscape.


The Road Ahead:

As we navigate the complex intersections of social media, women’s voices and climate resilience in South Asia, it is important to see how this digital transformation is developing. While the power of hashtags and online platforms has already left an indelible mark, the challenge remains to sustain this momentum. Advocacy must shift from the digital realm to specific policy changes, ensuring that women’s specific needs in the face of climate change are not only recognized but addressed first.


Digital Advocates: Women Shaping Climate Resilience in South Asia through Social Media


Manisha Anantharaman is a environmental activist and founder of a women-led sustainable agriculture initiative based in Tamil Nadu, India. On Twitter, she actively shares insights into the challenges faced by women farmers in the region. Manisha’s tweets highlight the importance of sustainable agricultural practices and shed light on women’s resilience in agriculture. Through her Twitter accounts, she connects with a wider audience and promotes local interests in climate resilient agriculture.


Facebook Community Impact: Shakila Islam's Virtual Oasis

Shakila Islam, climate activists from Bangladesh, worked in “YouthNet Global" Facebook Page. This online platform is a platform for not only South Asia, but for global to share experiences and resources on climate resilience. Shakila actively engages with the community, turning conversations into actionable resources in Bangladesh. Communities grow into supportive networks that empower people to implement sustainable practices and help build climate resilience in their communities.


Providing a forum to share experiences, wisdom, and creative fixes

Dr. Sabita Parida, an environmental scientist from Odisha, India, uses LinkedIn to advocate for gender-inclusive climate policies. Through her profile, she shares research findings on the impact of climate change on women's health. Dr. Parida's presence on LinkedIn attracts attention from policymakers, researchers, and organizations, influencing local and global conversations. Her advocacy contributes to shaping policies that address the intersection of climate change and women's well-being.


Instagram Visuals for Change: Fatima-Tuj-Johora's Visual Storytelling

Fatima-Tuj-Johora is an award winning independent visual storyteller from Bangladesh, utilizes Instagram to visually tell the stories of women in coastal communities affected by rising sea levels. Through her captivating images, Fatima raises awareness about the challenges these women face and inspires action for climate resilience. Her Instagram account becomes a platform for storytelling that transcends language barriers, creating a powerful narrative that resonates with a global audience.


Women working to rebuild the dam with soil in Bangladesh.
One of Fatima-Tuj-Johora's visual stories "Women are seen working to rebuild the dam with soil. Every year, cyclones hit the coastal zone of Bangladesh during the monsoon season, so the dam is to rebuild in preparation for the monsoon." Photo Credit: @fatimatujjohora

The Collective Impact:

In the real world, individuals like Manisha Anantharaman, Shakila Islam, Dr. Sabita Parida, and Fatima-Tuj-Johora embody the transformative potential of social media as a tool for advocacy in climate resilience discourse in South Asia. Through their genuine efforts on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram, they contribute to building communities, sharing knowledge, and advocating for positive change in the realm of climate resilience.


From tweets that spotlight the resilience of women in agriculture to Facebook communities fostering support and collaboration, from LinkedIn advocating for gender-inclusive policies to Instagram's visual narratives that evoke empathy—the impact of these women reaches far beyond the confines of the digital realm.


In conclusion, the compelling stories of Manisha, Shakila, Dr. Sabita, and Fatima highlight the transformative power of social media in advancing women's voices within the discourse on climate resilience in South Asia. As these women harness the digital realm to architect a more inclusive and resilient future, it is evident that social media has transcended its traditional role, emerging as a dynamic force that not only amplifies voices but also influences policy and fosters community. Recognizing and supporting this role is crucial as we embrace the potential of the digital realm to shape a narrative of climate resilience led by the impactful voices of South Asian women.



 

Masuma Moriom is the Communication Officer of GRRIPP South Asia. She is also the Founder and President of Shwapno Youth Development Organization. She has over seven years experiences and expertise in communication, volunteering, social work and development sector. For her contributions, she has been awarded Gold Award of the Duke of Edinburgh Award 2022, Kalam Youth Leadership Award 2021, Inspiring Women Volunteer Award 2021, Outstanding Leadership Award as a Frontline Fighter during Covid-19, Global Change Makers Award 2020, National Youth Icon Award 2019 and many more.


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