A recent blog from Media Matters @mmfa suggests that only 15% of climate change experts appearing in US media are women.
It would be interesting to find out whether the survey took into account the level of expertise of these media guests. Whilst there are many men who frequently appear in the media discussing climate change despite little or no background in the science, it is difficult to find examples of women who fall into the same category. (Are men just better at blagging?!)
There are however hundreds of impressive women researching climate science, impacts, and adaptation. So why aren't they speaking to the media? Anyone entering the public debate on climate change risks a backlash, but are women vulnerable to additional pressure because of their gender? Nigel Lawson's reference to the UK Met Office Chief Scientist as "that Julia Slingo woman" implies that this might be the case.
Julia Slingo's recent interview on Radio 4 includes some interesting thoughts on this exchange, alongside a very clear explanation of current climate research. Do we need more women to speak up in order to enhance public understanding of climate change?
Media Matters has previously found that women make up only about a quarter of guests on the Sunday morning talk shows and weekday evening cable news segments on the economy. However, the gender gap on climate change conversations is even starker. Women that do enter the field often face discrimination. Two prominent female climate scientists, Heidi Cullen and Katherine Hayhoe, have both been dismissed by Rush Limbaugh as "babe[s]."