2021-Girls get their voices heard at GCU

Glasgow schoolgirls will get their voices heard during COP26 at GCU

Mon, 11 Oct 2021 10:30:00 BST
GCU Climate Justice Centre Director Professor Tahseen Jafry and Glasgow City Council Bailie Annette Christie with schoolgirls involved in Girls@COP26 event
GCU Climate Justice Centre Director Professor Tahseen Jafry and Glasgow City Council Bailie Annette Christie with schoolgirls involved in Girls@COP26 event

Schoolgirls will have their voices heard in the fight against global climate change at a special two-week conference at Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) during COP26.

S3 Glasgow secondary school pupils will gather at the University for the Girls@COP26 – The Solutions are Feminist event, organised by Glasgow City Council (GCC) in partnership with GCU's Climate Justice Centre and Women of the World (WOW) foundation.

The Girls@COP26 -  The Solutions are Feminist conference is the ideal platform for young Glasgow women to have their voices heard, influence change and make an impact on the climate crisis.

During the event they will debate different aspects of the climate emergency and discuss the global issues around our environment and gender – Sustainable Development Goal 5 - with local, national and international expert speakers including Professor Tahseen Jafry, Director of the Climate Justice Centre.

Ahead of the event, Professor Jafry and Bailie Annette Christie, GCC's Convener of Wellbeing, Empowerment, Community and Citizen Engagement City Policy Committee, met with some of the S3 pupils, who have been helping to shape the conversations being held at the conference, at the Kelvingrove Park Suffragette Tree in celebration of International Day of the Girl on Monday, 11 October.

Professor Jafry said: "The Solutions are Feminist event is a fantastic opportunity that will allow women and girls to galvanise around this subject matter.

"Women's voices must be heard at COP26. Climate change is affecting the poorest and most vulnerable people in the world.

"Women and girls are on the frontline of the climate crisis. They experience hardship, grief and anxiety, so the impacts of climate change are affecting them both physically and mentally.

"It is vitally important that women and girls' voices and needs are heard, and their aspirations and desires for a better, more sustainable and healthier world need to be aired. That conversation must to be front and centre of COP26."

During the event, the girls will take part in a series of thematic daily talks from Monday, November 1-12. There will be 10 themes focusing on the Green Economy, migration and climate refugees, health, food, science, data, place, fashion, culture and mentoring.

Bailie Christie said: "COP26 is coming to Glasgow, it's the biggest event the city has ever seen and it is very important because we are in the midst of a climate and ecological emergency.

"Women have been central to climate action both in Glasgow and across the globe, particularly our young women. The events we are holding throughout COP26 centre on our S3 secondary schoolgirls. They will be coming along every day for two sessions where they will discuss a range of themes like climate action, health, culture, fashion and women's contribution to society with a panel of experts.

"The event is called Girls@COP26 – The Solutions are feminist. The event space is with our partners at Glasgow Caledonian University. We hope that during and after the event the girls will come up with solutions because we know that climate change disproportionately impacts women and girls so we are looking to see how they come up with their own ideas and solutions to fight climate change."

Drumchapel High School pupil Olivia Johnstone said: "To me climate change means that people, animals and plants everywhere are suffering and unless we act now nothing is going to change.

"I am keen to go to an event like this because, not only do I want to find out more about what is happening and how things are going to change, I want to contribute something to it."

Caitlin Rosie, also from Drumchapel High, said: "The world is deteriorating and it's going to affect my generation and future generations in a negative way in the future unless something happens now.

"Events like this bring more attention and awareness to the climate change problem so that things can happen quicker."

St Andrew's High School pupil Olivia Campbell said: "People in future generations aren't going to be able to enjoy the world like we do if we don't do something about it.

"I am hoping by attending events like this that people will change the way they do things and we can start to improve the environment again."

Julia Rychlik, also from St Andrew's High, said: "The world has been overfilled with greenhouse gases and is slowly being destroyed which means that future generations won't be able to experience the world as it is now.

"I am hoping that people will start to realise that the world isn't always going to be this pretty if we don't take action to get rid of as much of the greenhouse gases and plastic as we can."

In the picture are Professor Tahseen Jafry, Director of the Centre for Climate Justice at Glasgow Caledonian University (far left) and Glasgow City Council Bailie Annette Christie (far left). S3 schoolgirls (from top to bottom) are Drumchapel High School pupil Olivia Johnstone , St Andrew's High pupil Olivia Campbell, Drumchapel High pupil Caitlin Rosie, Smithycroft High pupil Abbi Bryant, St Andrew's High pupil Julia Rychlik, Smithycroft High pupil Shya Amin, and Shawlands Academy pupil Shawal Akram.

To find out more about GCU and COP26 click on this link - www.gcu.ac.uk/cop26