COP26: Nancy Pelosi, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Nicola Sturgeon all attend gender and climate meeting in Glasgow

The leading political women from America attended COP26 in Glasgow as the First Minister hosted a panel during Gender Day at the conference.

“If I ruled the world, the one thing I would do is invest in the education of women and girls,” Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said as she addressed an audience at a COP26 during the Gender Equality in Climate Action meeting in Glasgow.

Pelosi was joined by other delegates including US representative and activist Alexandria Ocasio Cortez who watched from the audience on Tuesday which marks Gender + Science and Innovation Day at the conference.

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The event also saw Little Amal, a 3.5m puppet of a 10-year-old Syrian refugee, take to the stage following her completion of the The Walk, a 4 month-long travelling festival of art and hope over 8000km from the Syrian border to Manchester.

The puppet stood alongside young Samoan climate activist Brianna Freuan to represent young women and girls from the global south on this world stage.

During their appearance, Freuan handed Amal a flower as ‘symbol of hope’ and Amal brought with her a ‘bag of seeds’ to inspire growth’ on climate change solutions.

The day comes as across the world, 80% of people displaced by climate change are women and children.

Women commonly face higher risks and greater burdens from the impacts of climate change in situations of poverty, and the majority of the world’s poor are women.

Nancy Pelosi, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Nicola Sturgeon all attended a gender and climate meeting in Glasgow on Tuesday during COP26.Nancy Pelosi, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Nicola Sturgeon all attended a gender and climate meeting in Glasgow on Tuesday during COP26.
Nancy Pelosi, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Nicola Sturgeon all attended a gender and climate meeting in Glasgow on Tuesday during COP26.

Women’s unequal participation in decision-making processes and labour markets compound inequalities and often prevent women from fully contributing to climate-related planning, policy-making and implementation.

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Representatives from other countries as well as speakers during the meeting brought up topics such as birth, poverty and menstruation and how that intersected with women being impacted by the climate crisis the most.

Per Olsson Fridh, minister for international development cooperation for Sweden, said: “Women are not the polluters, yet they carry the consequences of climate change on their shoulders.”

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He added that an intersection between feminism and climate change is “the only solution” for tackling the climate crisis.

The representatives also highlighted the work their countries were doing to tackle climate change with gender in mind.

For example, Canada has applied a target that 80% of their climate change policies will target and examine gender inequality issues to ensure ‘women are being listened to and protected’ from the climate crisis.

"We believe that when women succeed the world succeeds.” added Pelosi who commented that the US ‘is taking action’ to tackle gender inequality and climate change.

Pelosi introduced First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to the stage who hosted a panel entitled ‘courageous conversations’ with women representatives from YOUNGO, CHirapaqous and UN Women.

Sturgeon named climate change “a feminist issue" adding that Scotland will become a “commitment maker” as part of the UN Women Feminist Action for Climate Justice coalition.

Panellist Fatou Jeng said: “Gender equality still lacks in our climate discussion.

"When climate change occurs it is the women most affected however they are often excluded from the discussions."

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Panellist Tarcila Rivera Zea, an indigenous activist, added that ‘women are not pleading to be supported but demanding to be empowered.’

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