I was delighted to be Master of Ceremony for the opening day of the Women’s Forum Global Meeting 2021. A platform that aims to celebrate women’s leadership and create the conditions for more decision-making power for women, the #WFGM21 is a chance to gather and reflect on key issues where women are disproportionately affected, and have the potential – in business, politics, and society – to effectuate sizeable change.

The first of five days was devoted to #Women4ClimateAction (other key themes were women in tech, women’s health and inclusive business), and brought together a terrific range of speakers to discuss strategies for a just, green future. After panels on the role of business in enabling climate justice, women’s leadership and indigenous knowledge to protect biodiversity, a special final session brought together three leading climate activists – Jennifer Morgen, Executive Director of Greenpeace, Kenyan climate activist Elizabeth Wathuti, and British model/activist/entrepreneur Lily Cole – to reflect on the disappointing outcomes of COP26. All three women had barely touched down after their return home from Glasgow, and all three were shining examples of female stamina and resilience.

Climate activist Elizabeth Wathuti

And they didn’t mince their words, calling out the lack of female leadership at this year’s COP, the lack of accountability on the profusion of net zero claims, and the need to scale up ambition for a just energy transition. Positive take-aways were the observation of the clear gains made by activism, and the consensus that women’s empowerment and collaborative leadership will be crucial to driving real climate action on the ground. Elizabeth Wathuti, who returned with a heavy heart to her drought-ridden community in Kenya, said it best: the real fight has just begun, and people-power will make change happen. Leading that charge are Audrey Tcherkoff, Managing Director of the Women’s Forum, and moderator Sophie Lambin of Kite Insights, whose respective opening and closing words were equally to the point. As the days get darker, it was inspiring stuff! #AllOnBoard

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Photos: Screenshots / Women’s Forum Global Meeting 2021