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COP27: Calls for greater participation of women in climate action

Published: 11 November 2022

The climate crisis cannot be solved without involving women, some of the world’s leading investment funds, foundations and financial institutions said in a joint letter published ahead of COP27

Financial institutions call for greater participation of women in climate action and finance | Illustration by kotoffei on iStock

Investing with a gender lens is crucial to building greener and stronger societies, the European Investment Bank (EIB), together with Aviva, Generation Investment Management, the David Rockefeller Fund and Legal and General Investment Management said in a letter ahead of the climate change summit that got under way this week in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.

The 15 signatories warned “far too little progress” had been made to increase the participation of women in climate action and finance and called on governments, public sector institutions and private sector finance organisations to make sure climate finance is gender-smart. 

“Ahead of the COP27 climate talks, we are calling for urgent action to enshrine gender equality into the design, delivery and accessibility of climate finance,” said Suzanne Biegel, co-founder of GenderSmart, which coordinated the letter together with the Women in Finance Climate Action Group and the 2X Collaborative.

Amanda Blanc, Group CEO of British insurance giant Aviva, said governments, multilateral institutions and private sector organisations all need to look at how private capital directed toward tackling shared global threats “can better incorporate gender concerns in order to ensure that these trillions of dollars needed to meet our climate goals will flow in an equitable way”.

“Mobilising climate finance in a way that actively works to address gender inequality will be essential to transform economies and societies to be more equal and resilient in the future,” Blanc said.

This week’s joint letter follows a similar call to action during last year’s COP26 summit in Glasgow, United Kingdom by the Women in Finance Climate Action Group, chaired by Blanc.   

Although climate change impacts women across the world significantly, women remain seriously under-represented in climate policy, climate decision-making and climate finance, the Women in Finance Climate Action Group said last year.

Four calls to action

This week’s letter, which also includes signatories such as Wallace Global Fund, the 30% Club, Hesta, Private Infrastructure Development Group, and Oliver Wyman, made four calls to action of public and private sector financial decision-makers.

First, it wants to improve women’s inclusion within the financial system and ability to access climate finance. Second, gender should be integrated into public and private climate policy frameworks. Third, gender metrics should be developed and integrated into climate finance reporting. And finally, the signatories called for an improvement of gender-balanced representation in decision-making roles in climate finance and climate-smart businesses.

“At the EIB, we believe that the full participation of women – as leaders, employees, entrepreneurs, and consumers – is essential for climate finance to be effective and to tackle the climate crisis at the speed and scale necessary,” said Thomas Östros, vice-president of the EIB.  

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