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:
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:
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:
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:
- 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.
- The inclusion of women at decision-making tables
Just one third of country negotiating teams at climate summits are women: this needs to change.
- 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
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
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
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