Open letter on climate and gender justice

GenAdapt Zambia

On Gender Day at COP28, high profile figures, including Orlando Bloom, Annie Lennox, Nikita Gill, Sanjeev Bhaskar, George MacKay, Stephen Fry, Lemn Sissay and Bianca Jagger, have joined climate activists, humanitarian and feminist leaders to call on the Prime Minister to invest in women and girls who are providing solutions to the climate crisis:

Dear Prime Minister,

4th December 2023

Today marks a day of global international attention on the vital role that gender equality plays in our battle against climate change.

We are adding our voices to women and girls disproportionately affected by the climate crisis, a generation of women we are calling ‘Gen Adapt’ as they are forced to adapt to climate devastation.

We are asking that you ensure in the dialogues that happen today at COP28, that the evidence presented by the experts - women and girls at the frontline of climate crisis - doesn't go unheard.

As a Prime Minister who favours long term planning, you are aware it is substantially more expensive to recover from climate disasters like famine, floods and wildfires than preparing for them properly. Globally, climate change costs $16m an hour in extreme weather damage. Lowering our ambition to tackle climate change is a false economy, and one that will hurt women and girls the most.

Women like Febby, 50, farmer and mother of five, impacted by drought in Kalomo District, Zambia:

Zambia GenAdapt

Women are more affected by the climate as they are the care providers. We take care of the welfare of the home and water is a major factor. If water becomes scarce, the woman who draws water is affected."

And girls like Jerin, 16, a community youth group leader from Jamalpur, Bangladesh:

Jerin, Bangladesh

I can't go to school because the roads are submerged during floods. When the houses are submerged in water, all people have to move to a higher place.

As girls, we cannot use the bathroom outside and do not have access to toilets and showers for days. We cannot use sanitary pads. And we don't feel safe out in the open.”

Now is the time to invest in the women and girls being forced to adapt to the climate crisis. They are the experts: they already live with the new, tougher reality of climate change and know what it takes to survive and thrive. They are also the best investment: women and girls lead their families and community out of crisis.

Women like Virginia, 57, an indigenous farmer from San Isidro, Ecuador, must be heard:

Virgina, Ecuador

In community group and collective action, it's the women who act. For our family, we are the pillar of households, families, and communities. And as leaders we, women, continue to move forward, disseminating knowledge.

It is necessary for women to be at the forefront. This is how we continue and teach our children to adapt to the changing land.”

Enabling women and girls to lead solutions is shown to result in better outcomes for the climate, communities and economy.

We ask you to work with the UK government to support:

  1. An increase in climate finance for Women’s Rights and Women-Led Organisations

CARE’s research shows less that 0.2% of bilateral UK climate finance reached Women’s Rights Organisations last year.

  1. The inclusion of women at decision-making tables

Just one third of country negotiating teams at climate summits are women: this needs to change.

  1. A quick and equitable transition from fossil fuels to clean, renewable energies

Every fraction of a degree of global warming will exacerbate climate chaos and increase the impact on women and girls disproportionately.

We urge you to listen to the voices of women and girls like Febby, Jerin and Virginia. Climate change is already costing them their health, homes, education and employment. They need your global support to adapt by ensuring money reaches those worst affected, who know how best to spend it.



Anne-Marie Duff - Actor

Annie Lennox

Sir Antony Gormley - Artist

Bella Lack - Writer and presenter

Chris Hines MBE - Environmental campaigner

David Arnold - Composer

George MacKay - Actor

Helen Pankhurst CBE - Author and campaigner

Kate Humble - Writer & broadcaster

Lemn Sissay OBE - Poet and Author

Mikaela Loach - Author and climate justice organiser

Natasha Walter - Author and campaigner

Nikita Gill - Poet

Orlando Bloom

Paul Polman - Author, Net Positive

Sandi Toksvig - Broadcaster, campaigner, Women’s Equality Party founder

Sanjeev Bhaskar - Actor

Sarah Gavron - Film director

Scarlett Westbrook - Journalist & climate justice activist

Stephen Fry


Alison Marshall - CEO, Age International

Alphonsine Kabagabo - Director, Women for Refugee Women

Antoinette Vermilye - Founder, Gallifrey Foundation

Bethan Cobley - MSI Reproductive Choices

Bianca Jagger - Founder & President, Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation

Bianca Pitt - Co-founder, SHE Changes Climate

Bridget Burns - Executive Director, Women’s Environment and Development Organization (WEDO)

Christine Allen - Director, CAFOD

Colin McQuistan - Head of Climate and Resilience, Practical Action

Dr Dhananjayan Sriskandarajah - Chief Executive, Oxfam GB

Elizabeth Corley - Chair - Impact Investing Institute

Fionna Smyth - Director of Influence & Growth, Development Initiatives

Fola Komolafe MBE DL - CEO, World Vision UK

Hannah Bond - Co-Director, Policy Advocacy and Programmes, ActionAid UK

Hannah Ward - Director Policy, Advocacy and Communications at International Alert

Harpinder Collacott - Executive Director, Mercy Corps Europe

Helen McEachern, CEO - CARE International UK

Helen Meech - Executive Director, The Climate Coalition

Jemima Olchawski - CEO, Fawcett Society

Jessica Woodroffe - Director, Gender and Development Network (GADN)

Kate Metcalf - Co-Director, Wen (Women's Environment Network)

Kathryn Hodges - Trust Secretary, Sir Ernest Cassel Educational Trust

Laura Brown - CEO, Promoting Equality in African Schools (PEAS)

Laura Kyrke-Smith - Executive Director, International Rescue Committee UK

Maddie Smith - Managing Director, The Body Shop UK&Ireland

Marissa Conway - CEO, United Nations Association UK

Melissa Green - Chief Executive, National Federation of Women's Institutes

Ndivile Mokoena - GenderCC SA - Women for Climate Justice

Othman Moqbel - CEO, Action for Humanity

Paula Shaw - Secretary, WILFPF UK (Women's International League for Peace and Freedom)

Raakhi Shah - CEO, The Circle

Rose Caldwell - CEO, Plan International UK

Sian Sutherland - CoFounder, A Plastic Planet / PlasticFree / Plastic Health Council

Sophie Marple - Co-founder, Mothers Climate Action Network

Stephanie Akrumah - Director, Centre for Green Growth

Titilope Akosa - Founder, Centre for 21st Century Issues

Meet GenAdapt

Women and girls demand action from world leaders at COP28