What’s Wrong With This Picture? (COP27 Edition!)

World leaders pose for a group photo during the Sharm El-Sheikh Climate Implementation Summit (SCIS) of the UNFCCC COP27 climate conference on Nov. 7, 2022 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. (Sean Gallup / Getty Images)

Running from Nov. 6-18, the United Nations COP27 conference in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, brings together political leaders and representatives from 190 countries to discuss climate-related topics including climate change adaptation, climate finance, decarbonization, agriculture and biodiversity.

And from the looks of the photos emerging already from day one, women’s representation at COP27 is practically nonexistent.

U.N. COPs are the biggest and most important annual climate-related conferences worldwide. During these meetings, nations have negotiated groundbreaking and legally binding climate treaties, such as the Kyoto Protocol in 1997 and the Paris Agreement in 2015.

Despite dedicated events on gender planned to take place at COP27, a few attendees have already commented on the stark lack of women in attendance. “Once again, another example of lack of women representation and another reason why there is so much work yet to be done to achieve gender parity,” tweeted law student Cayetana Fernandez. “If women keep being left out of top decision making processes, the outcomes of such will keep on being one-sided.”

By the U.N.’s own estimates, 80 percent of all people displaced by climate change are women and girls, but they make up only 30 percent of global and national climate decision-making bodies. 

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Roxy Szal is the managing digital editor at Ms. and a producer on the Ms. podcast On the Issues With Michele Goodwin. She is also a mentor editor for The OpEd Project. Before becoming a journalist, she was a Texas public school English teacher. She is based in Austin, Texas. Find her on Twitter @roxyszal.