The blue skies were welcomed by the early delegates making their way across the city centre to join the climate change conference on its third day. Today marked discussions around finance in the Green Zone, with talks on gender, pensions and under-represented voices who are often left behind in financial climate debates.
From the beginning, a recurring theme was voiced; the detriment of overlooking one of the greatest assets in helping us in the race to net-zero – women. Irish Independent Politician, Mary Robinson said “we can’t afford to squander the potential of half our population…women drive resilience, solutions and adaptations.” It’s imperative the driving force behind our climate strategies and actions involves women. As such, we must empower, educate, and enable women to feel confident to participate and speak up.
Diversity and representation matters. Girls and women can no longer be left behind, with the worsening effects of climate change women are more at risk than ever. What was once a 3km journey to fetch water for her family in Malawi, is now 8km, what will it be in 2025? We need to continue bridging the gap between gender disparity in climate change discussions and champion the voices of the unspoken. It is important we make efforts to learn women’s stories across the world and engage in gender discussions to understand more of what needs to be done.
There were polarising opinions throughout todays talks, are the big decisions and responsibility of actions on society, or on the leaders? Minister Nancy Tembo from Kenya stated it’s “down to each one of us – we must amplify our voices and act.” Although, naturally, finance is an underlining obstacle for us all. Although, we hold more power in our wallets than we probably know, did you know that there is £2.6 trillion held in pensions? The question of where our pensions are investing was put to the audience, over 80% responded that they didn’t know. The likelihood that our current pensions are investing in deforestation, tobacco and factory farming is extremely high. This is devastating news for environmentalists. Campaign Director at Make My Money Matter, David Heyman declared it’s more effective to make your pension environmentally focused than it is to give up meat, stop flying, or even switching your energy supplier.
Again, women are behind in financial access and understanding. So, what can we do? Let’s challenge our pensions – where are our indirect investments being channelled? Research your options and put your money where your mouth is. We aren’t consumers, we're citizens with political power through the actions we take and we have the right to exercise this through various mediums.