Emma Watson and Ellie Goulding have joined forces with 400 other women in calling for better representation of women at COP26, global climate summit to be held next year in November 2021. The artists along with other women have signed an open letter directed to the government of the United Kingdom which says that the gender balance in UN’s COP26 team is “incomprehensible”.
This year, COP26 summit is to be organised by the United Kingdom hence the letter has been directed to Prime Minister Boris Johnson and COP26 president Alok Sharma. Until now, the only woman appointed as part of the Glasgow global summit team is Conservative MP Marie Treveylan who will be the COP26 adaptation and resilience champion. Her all-male teammates are of COP26 president Alok Sharma, businessman Nigel Topping and former governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney.
However, the letter which has also been signed by Hollywood actress Emma Thompson, MP Caroline Lucas, and Google’s Kate Brandt is asking the UK government to ensure a 50:50 gender ration at the summit.
The UK government said it is committed towards it is committed to diversity and a government spokesperson said that the COP26 summit team in fact 45% are women in the senior management. But the women who have signed the letter have for better and more “influential positions” to be given to women.
According to the United Nations, last year’s COP26 summit had 196 leaders and only 25 % of them were women. Signatory Professor Lorraine Whitmarsh, director of the Centre for Climate Change and Social Transformations (CAST). said evidence shows “diversity in decision-making – including women and men – usually leads to better outcomes”.
“So a more gender-balanced leadership of COP26 will not only be fairer, it will likely improve decision-making”, she says,” she added.
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Mexican indigenous activist, Xiye Bastida, expressed how she feels sitting at all-male tables at conferences and events. She said, “When you attend conferences, events, and panels, most of the people talking about climate are older white men,” she says.
“I’ve found myself in a position of feeling that I don’t know enough, or that my voice doesn’t matter enough, because there is a white man who dismisses my contributions. This is why I have signed this letter because I believe that women bring heart and optimism into the fight for our lives.”