SHE Changes Climate, bringing female leadership to the forefront of climate change action

For 26 years, the United Nations has held an annual meeting to assess progress in dealing with global temperature rise. The 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, also known as COP26, is slated to be held in the city of Glasgow from October 31st to November 12th. Although the climate crisis is a worldwide issue affecting us all, Antoinette Vermilye, Bianca Pitt, and Elise Buckle couldn’t help but notice that the leadership teams of the past 25 conferences have been noticeably lacking in diversity. In 2020, women accounted for just 15% of the UK COP26 Leadership Team. So, the trio founded SHE Changes Climate, a new campaign set out to make the COP26 leadership team an equal 50:50 representation of men and women.

The campaign is founded on scientifically proven data that diverse boards and leadership teams are better at being leaders, better at governance, and more successful in the work they do. They’re better at negotiation, get better results, and can make more inclusive and balanced decisions because they are able to draw on wider knowledge bases and experiences. SHE Changes Climate’s goal, therefore, is to bring diversity and inclusiveness, transparency, and accountability to the COP negotiations on climate change. Currently, their focus is on getting COP26 to achieve a 50:50 split of men and women in its top-level leadership team in the UK. Their global mission, however, is to ensure all delegations have at least a 50% representation of women in the future. 

Not only have studies shown that more inclusive leadership gets the job done, but that female leadership adopts innovative and preventative measures at a faster rate than men. This makes women, among many other factors, key to solving the climate crisis. Research shows that where women have higher social and political status, their countries have 12% lower CO2 emissions. Women also tend to think for the collective whole rather than themselves. They are shown to make more decisions that support the public good, provide fair pay and benefits, and encourage honest and ethical behavior.

Powerful, experienced, and capable women are found in all countries around the world. SHE Changes Climate believes they deserve for their voices to be heard and to represent their people as part of a COP delegation. The campaign calls on all nations to look inward at the pool of talent that already exists within their borders to build truly representative leadership teams. With them, this can be the most successful conference to date and change the current trajectory our shared planet is on when it comes to climate change. To support this empowering movement, visit to sign their open letter to the UK Government calling for equal representation at this year’s United Nations Climate Change Conference.