"Feminist leadership is essential for driving meaningful action on climate change. By harnessing feminist principles, we are bridging the gap towards a more sustainable future where gender equality, migration and environmental justice go hand in hand.
Founder and Managing Director, New Women Connectors
The recent CoFe Tables Talk panels and Climate Summit, co-convened by New Women Connectors and partners of CoFe Tables Talk project ahead of the COP28, provided a platform for crucial dialogues featuring amongst them feminist leaders for climate change with lived experience shedding light on pressing issues surrounding climate change and its disproportionate impact on women.
In various regions, prolonged heat waves, like those experienced in Bangladesh, have triggered a stark increase in child marriages, unveiling the harsh reality that climate change is compelling an entire generation of women to adapt to an increasingly brutal climate. Despite this, only 15 out of 133 heads of state attending COP28 were women.
This gender disparity at the COP28 underscores a crucial facet of the crisis: women and girls in many nations are disproportionately affected by climate change, amplifying its social ramifications. It's imperative to recognize that combating climate change is not solely an environmental crisis but also a social one. The struggle against climate change is intrinsically linked to the fight for women's rights.
"There can be no Climate Justice without Human Rights. Free Palestine, cease Hamasaki War!"
CSIPM, World March of Women Kenya
Unjust gender roles and inequity, particularly in certain regions, contribute significantly to the impact of global warming. Women often bear heavier burdens, facing challenges such as failed crops, limited land rights, and increased engagement in subsistence farming. In many instances, women shoulder responsibilities for household tasks, caregiving, and community support, exacerbating the pressures they face, as highlighted by our Cofe Tables Panel Participants.
New Women Connectors, advocates for a shift in perspective: Anila Noor, Founder and CEO of New Women Connectors emphasizes that women, far from being merely victims, are pivotal in constructing more resilient societies in the face of the climate crisis. Many women possess vital knowledge about local needs and natural resources, positioning them as agents of change capable of implementing sustainable solutions within their communities.
"There is no greater force in the world than women coming together to save the World. The climate crisis is the biggest challenge to the sustainability of our civilisation, and women must lead the change"
Director of Secretariat, European Youth Energy Network
Highlighting the underrepresentation of women in climate negotiations, Noor stresses that addressing the additional burden of climate change on women should remain a central topic at conferences like COP28. Despite an increase from the previous year, where only 7 out of 110 heads of state were women, the current participation ratio of 15 out of 133 remains significantly skewed.
The industries most responsible for emissions—such as transportation, energy, agriculture, and construction—tend to be male-dominated, resulting in men's overrepresentation in climate solution sectors. Noor emphasizes the need for equitable representation and influence for women in these critical sectors, particularly in steering the energy transition.
I believe you have to be in the system in order to change the system. It’s not just about bringing voices of women together for climate justice. It's a response to climate change threats, as well as an effort to promote ecosystems and create a culture among people to contribute to a healthy climate.
Feminist Lead for Climate Justice, New Women Connectors
The recently adopted climate agreement marks a historic moment, signaling a global consensus on transitioning away from fossil fuels. This landmark decision, after nearly 30 years of UN climate negotiations, has been lauded by leaders as a step toward sustainable energy systems. However, concerns persist regarding the clarity and enforceability of this transition. While numerous countries have backed the shift away from fossil fuels, some, including oil-producing nations like Saudi Arabia, opposed explicit phrases like "phasing out." Vulnerable small island states fear loopholes that might hinder the transition away from coal, oil, and gas.
To ensure the agreement's substantive impact, New Women Connectors urges governments to commit to more robust climate actions, increased financing for climate initiatives in impoverished nations, cessation of new oil investments, and the inclusion of major polluters in a collaborative climate alliance.
While the agreement's focus on transitioning away from fossil fuels is a crucial step, there's a need for concrete actions and investments in renewable energy sources. Civil society and grassroots organizations express relief at the decision's acknowledgment of the necessity to move away from fossil fuels, yet emphasize the urgency for clearer commitments and stronger measures to address the climate crisis.
“I am concerned, but remain hopeful that as the voices of those with lived experiences of climate change continue to make their way into the spaces where high level decisions are being taken on the climate crisis, the voices would eventually become the most powerful force that would help us all save our planet”
Olanike Olugboji Daramola
Women Initiative for Sustainable Environment (WISE)
In conclusion, UN Secretary-General António Guterres asserts that the era of fossil energy must conclude equitably and justly to combat global warming effectively. He emphasizes the inevitability of phasing out fossil energy, urging immediate action from governments and businesses worldwide to translate commitments into tangible economic outcomes.
UN Climate Chief Simon Stiell echoes this sentiment, calling for concerted efforts and actionable steps from all sectors to achieve the agreed-upon goals without delay.
As the CoFe Tables Talk project has envisioned, we call for feminist leadership in the climate change discourse. We urge governments and organizations to recognize and amplify the voices of women, ensuring their meaningful participation and leadership in climate decision-making processes. We advocate for policies and actions that address gender disparities in climate change impacts and promote gender equality as a fundamental aspect of climate action.
Dowload the official version of the Cofe Tables Talk Closing Satement below: