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On International Women’s Day let’s stand with activists leading the charge against climate change

As highlighted in our report Last Line of Defence, women defenders are standing up against corporate destruction, yet too often they are also subjected to gender-specific threats, including sexual violence.

At COP26, Helena was one of a small number of Indigenous people who managed to get to Glasgow for the conference. On the streets protesting alongside other activists, she said: “We all share the same emotions of anger and frustration, of sadness, pain, to see people around us, losing loved ones, and losing sisters, fathers, brothers. A lot of the women here, that are here to protest, that are here to share their stories with you, have experienced that.” 

“It’s so scary to think that we have all these numbers and we have everything and still there is no action and there is nothing that inside there [the COP26 summit] that is being discussed to protect the people who are actually protecting our lands, who are actually protecting the Amazon and our ecosystems… they should be here to listen to the shoutings of the women here.”  

It’s a global fight 

Txai’s and Helena’s stories are two of millions of similar stories – there are many more women and girls leading grassroot movements across Asia, Africa and Latin America.  

In South Africa, Malungelo Xhakaza is continuing her mother’s fight against a powerful coal mining company who are destroying the Somkhele community, located next to Africa’s oldest nature reserve. Her mother Fikile Ntshangase – a leader, teacher and mother – was murdered for leading a campaign against the expansion of a coal mine that was polluting their land. They thought her death would silence them, but instead it has motivated Malungelo to keep her mother’s fight alive.   

And in India, Alice Barwa has been protesting against the destruction of the Hasedeo forest in central India and clearing the forest’s Indigenous people.  

So, as we mark this day, let’s stand in solidarity with all women who are shouting loudly and leading the movement against climate breakdown.  

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