Girls@COP26 event wins international award

By Isobel Duxfield / Updated: 27 Oct 2022

Glasgow’s Girls@COP26 initiative has won an international award for its efforts towards gender equality.

'Girls@COP26 – The Solutions are Feminist' conference took place during COP26 in Glasgow last November. Its title was inspired by Dr Mary Robinson’s book: “Climate Justice: A Man-Made Problem With a Feminist Solution”. Now it has been recognised with the Sister Cities International award.

The Sister Cities International award has been given to Sister Cities Association in Pittsburgh that joined with the council, Glasgow Caledonian University's Mary Robinson Centre for Climate Justice and Women of the World (WOW) Foundation, to give girls a voice during the United Nations COP26 climate change summit, last year. The award is in recognition of the outstanding work done in advancing the goals and mission of the Sister Cities organisation, who work with members across the United States to play a part in creating a more peaceful world through people-to-people exchanges and initiatives.

Across the two-week conference, more than 2,500 pupils participated in Girls@COP26 - The Solutions are Feminist, at Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU). Schools joined forces to discuss the global issues around environment and gender - UN Sustainable Development Goal 5 - alongside other female related issues including health and challenges that can affect women and girls' bodies.

They discussed a range of themes like climate action, culture, fashion, everyday living and women's contribution to society, keynote speakers, including former Irish President Dr Mary Robinson, and a panel of experts. Each topic was discussed from the point of view of how woman and girls' lives are disproportionately impacted, challenges faced and what can be done to facilitate change, empower women and build resilience.

Glasgow is a city which has been dedicating extensive efforts towards sustainable mobility. Glasgow's new transport strategy - released earlier this year - has mapped a course to a city network that tackles poverty, supports economic success, creates thriving, liveable neighbourhoods and plays a central role in the fight against climate change. To support the city's carbon reduction target, the new strategy sets out the ambition of reducing car vehicle kilometres travelled in Glasgow by at least 30% by 2030. The aim is to encourage travellers to opt for sustainable transport choices such as walking, cycling or public transport wherever possible, so there is less need to travel by car.

The COP26 event built on this focus on inclusion. Bailie Annette Christie, Convener for Culture, Sport and International Relations, stated: "'The Solutions are Feminist' conference, in partnership with GCU and Women of the World (WOW), was the ideal platform for Glasgow's female voices to be heard, influence change and make an impact - pupil voice is very strong in Glasgow's schools and COP26 provided the perfect platform for the girls' opinions to be shared. "This is a great honour and recognises not only the success of the event but also our partnership with Pittsburgh, a fairly recent connection and one that we hope to strengthen in the future."

Professor Tahseen Jafry, Director of the Mary Robinson Centre for Climate Justice, said: "The success of Girls@COP26 is testimony to the pupils who took part and engaged so enthusiastically in the event. I am so proud of what they have achieved together with all the partners involved in delivering such an ambitious two-week programme. I am delighted that our work has been recognised and I look forward to our continuing collaboration."

Glasgow's Transport Strategy covers over 100 policies that provide a comprehensive vision for how to get about Glasgow in the future. But with vehicle emissions accounting for a third of the city's carbon output, changes to the transport system are regarded as a vital component in Glasgow's effort to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030. As targets loom larger than ever, putting citizens' voices first will continue to be critical.


Original article published by Glasgow City Council, 22 August 2022.

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