On Sunday, a group of 31 women formed a human chain across Waterloo Bridge to “highlight the disproportionate impact of the climate and ecological emergency on women”.
The activists said they chose the location – otherwise known as The Ladies’ Bridge – because many of the welders, stonemasons and labourers that built it during the Second World War were women.
The women taking part in the protest were topless to symbolise the vulnerability of women around the world in the face of climate breakdown, and had the words “climate rape”, “climate murder”, “climate abuse”, “climate inequality” and “climate justice” written on their bodies.
A spokesperson for Extinction Rebellion said: “A January 2020 report by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature found that climate breakdown and environmental degradation are driving an increase in violence against women.
“The report found that deforestation and the degradation of land mean women have to travel further to collect the things they need, like firewood, and are exposed to violence, rape and abduction when they make these journeys. UN figures indicate that 80 per cent of people displaced by climate change are women.”
The activists at Waterloo Bridge called on women in the UK to recognise the climate crisis will soon be “a reality faced by all women if decisive action is not taken”.
Sarah Mintram, a former teacher who took part in the protest, said: “It’s mainly women in poorer countries in the global south that are experiencing the increase in violence but this will be the reality for all women if the climate and ecological crisis continues to go unaddressed.
“We are here to raise the alarm about what is happening to our sisters around the world and to tell women in the UK the climate and ecological emergency is your issue – it will affect you as a woman if we do not persuade our government to take urgent action starting now.”
The protesters later joined the events organised by Women’s Strike Assembly at Oxford Circus.
The protest was part of a wave of Extinction Rebellion International Women’s Day actions around the world.
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