I was recently interviewed by Lauren Herzer Risi of the Wilson Center on gender dynamics in the Lake Chad region.
“Women and men face very different risks and challenges,” said Chitra Nagarajan, a writer and journalist who covers climate change, conflict, and gender. She spoke in this week’s podcast about what’s changed in the Lake Chad region. In the last few years the combination of profound climate change and high levels of insecurity have made life harder for the local population. To get a sense of how recent changes have affected Lake Chad’s residents, Nagarajan interviewed more than 250 people. These are some of her findings.
“It’s very clear and we know this from other contexts as well,” she said, “that the people who face the most risk and who have been affected the most are those who were already vulnerable and marginalized beforehand or people who acquired vulnerabilities.” As a result, the conflict has impacted men and women differently. Men are much more likely to be viewed with suspicion by all parties to the conflict, more likely to be in detention, more likely to experience extrajudicial killing, and more likely to be recruited by force. Women, on the other hand, face high levels of gender-based violence like sexual abuse and exploitation, forced sex work, increased early marriage, and domestic violence.