May 25, 2024

Why were women so underrepresented?

After two-weeks of talks, negotiations, and renewed commitments to climate action, COP27 has come to an end. While the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference made historic progress – especially with regard to establishing a dedicated fund for countries most impacted by climate change – there are still many questions that remain unanswered, such as where were all the women?

A recent report published by ActionAid determined that “global inaction on climate change is violating women and girls’ rights,” with Sophie Rigg, senior climate and resesilience Adviser at ActionAid UK, noting that “the impact of the climate crisis goes beyond just financial … on every single measure, climate change is putting women and girls – already disproportionately on the frontline of the climate crisis – at further risk of marginalisation. ”

Despite the evidence for women being disproportionately affected by climate change, COP27 appeared to be a male-dominated affair, with many delegates expressing disappointment at the lack of representation for women.

According to BBC analysis, women made up less than 34% of country negotiating teams at COP27. This was compounded by a “family photo” of world leaders gathered at the annual summit, which went viral for featuring only seven women out of 110 leaders.

Maria Alejandra Téllez Correa, the co-founder and executive Director of Climalab who attended COP27 as One Young World Ambassador, told GLAMOUR that, “The gender agenda at COP27 did not prosper, parties decided to withdraw the topic arguing no agreement in the negotiation language that was about to remain in the final agreement. Definitely, this outcome is a tragedy for women. ”

She adds, “Historically, impacts of climate change are felt unequally and disproportionately by some of the poorest communities across the globe, mostly for women. And these are often exacerbated by race, class, caste, or gender-based inequalities. ”

Another One Young World Ambassador, Anna Stanley-Radière who is the co-founder Seaweed for Europe, noted that “on a personal level” COP27 was “marked by a range of incredible female thought-leaders from different fields – all of which were incredibly inspiring, empowering and collaborative. ”

However, she explained to GLAMOUR, “There is still a clear need for much broader (female) representation, in particular from geographies which will be most affected by climate change. Their stories and lived experiences are powerful and their desire to evoke change strong, so we need to ensure their voice is heard. ”

Hellen Nzinga, the co-founder of EcoCirclo who also attended COP27 as a representative of One Young World, went into the conference hoping that «Black women in the global south have the opportunity to propose solutions that impact their communities. Women in vulnerable situations are the most affected by climate change, but they are not in decision-making positions. ”

GLAMOUR also spoke to Tzeporah Berman, the chair of the Fossil Fuel Treaty Initiative, who spoke on a panel at COP27 about women leading fossil fuel divestment. “Women statistically are the most vulnerable to climate change and bear the brunt of disasters and extreme weather,” she explains, adding, “Given this reality, ensuring a strong commitment to phasing out fossil fuels, which are the primary cause of the floods, fires and droughts we are already experiencing, was a critical outcome many were looking for out of COP27. ”

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