Day 9 COP26: Gender And Equality

Photo of a sign that reads 'what lessens one of us lessens all of us'
Ottilie Owen

Today’s session at COP26 was ‘Gender Day’. It highlighted the intersection between gender equality and tackling the climate crisis, as Ottilie explains.

The focus pivoted around gender and inclusion. The results displayed that the climate crisis is not an injustice separate from other injustices, but also exacerbates gender inequality.

women are more likely to be displaced by physical climate impacts

It is important to stress that women have not been properly historically represented, and that the women present at COP26 are not a fair representation of their gender. This is because of the inequality in education and positions of power globally. To highlight this disparity, the puppet known as Little Amal, who walked all the way from Syria, arrived in Glasgow today. Samoan activist Brianna Fruean said Amal “represents all girls who could not be here” at COP26, as she opened ‘Gender Day’.

Research has shown time and time again that women are more likely to be displaced by physical climate impacts. This is in part because women are more likely to be affected by poverty and are often dependent on small-scale work that is vulnerable to climate caused devastation.

A study conducted by the UN concluded that women and children can comprise 80% of those displaced by climate-related disaster.  The UK COP26 Presidency contested, “there has been new momentum from around the world to put gender at the forefront of climate action on Gender Day“.

This comment came after pledges for dedicated climate finance poured in, with the US committing $14 million (€12.1 million) to the Gender Equity and Equality Action Fund and “$3 million investment to support women farmers in East Africa to adapt to climate impacts”. Meanwhile, the UK announced £165 million in funding to drive forward their aims of improving gender equality whilst tackling the climate crisis.

we still have a mountain to climb

Alongside this, several other countries also outlined their plans for gender-sensitive climate policies, including Germany and Sweden.

As well as these debates, negotiations continued over the summit’s cover decisions. Teams of two ministers, one from a rich country and one from a poor, have been assigned to oversee negotiations on each topic that will form part of COP26’s cover deal.

The COP26 chairman Alok Sharma, however, has warned “we still have a mountain to climb”, as the clock dauntingly continues to tick whilst negotiators continue to strike deals that will help limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

South Korea has now become the latest country to backtrack on its pledge to phase out coal by 2030 just days after the pledge was signed. This is a move which has understandably sparked criticism from environmental activists, including criticism from within as the Korean NGO solutions for our Climate spoke out: “The Korean government has lost its climate credibility by signing on to a momentous global pledge and then quietly backpedalling at home”.

Ottilie Owen

Featured image courtesy of Visual Stories || Micheile via Unsplash. Image license found here. No changes were made to this image.

This article is part of Impact Nottingham’s COP26 series. For more articles on the conference check out the link here.

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