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COP25 Dispatch: Women Are Leading the Conversation

As my days have passed here at COP25, I’ve grown increasingly comfortable and excited to be in Madrid for the United Nations Climate Change Conference. I’ve found my time here to be incredibly informative and inspiring, and have wanted to attend absolutely everything, typically getting to the conference around 7am and heading home closer to 9pm. Those 14 hours fly by; today, I realized I forgot to even stop for lunch, so enchanted by the events I attended and conversations I engaged in. 

The highlight of my day was hearing Greta and other youth leaders address the delegation in a Climate Emergency Event this morning. I’ve long admired Greta, and was starstruck by her presence and powerful speech. 

I spent a significant portion of today focused on gender-related issues, as that had been one of my initial objectives for this week. The disproportionate impact climate change has on women, and the role feminists have played in rising against unprecedented challenge, is something I’ve long wanted to better understand, and there’s no better place to learn from these movement-leaders than COP25. 

Today’s gender-related events certainly did not disappoint, and intersectionality of climate change and feminism was incredibly evident. The first side event I attended today was titled “Global South women and young feminists meet the climate crisis: alternatives, solutions, and narrative.” At this event, convened by the Fundacion Fondo Centroamericano de Mujeres, several young women working at feminist organizations and community groups spoke. From there, I headed to “Gender-responsive urban climate policies and NDCs”, and event that presented on lessons learned from the gender responsiveness of climate policies at the local and national levels. Female government officials from Mexico, Germany, India and South Africa spoke of their experiences in office. I left the room with chills. 

I’m getting a little bit nostalgic that COP25 will soon be coming to a close; I could stay here forever, running from negotiations to side events to plenary, grabbing lunch with advocates and policymakers from across the globe, and learning from indigenous leaders, community organizers, and academics. I’ve made some incredible professional connections, learned about a range of issues including sustainable food systems, adaptation investments, global treaties, and countless other topics I was previously not knowledgeable in. More than anything, I feel like I’ve become a part of a global community focused on combating the climate crisis. As someone that’s dedicated the last few years to this space, meeting like-minded individuals from across the world has been incredibly rewarding. 

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Student Perspective