EMMA Watson and Ellie Goulding are among 400 people to sign an open letter calling for more women in "decision-making" roles at a climate conference in Glasgow next year. 

The stars believe the gender balance in leadership positions at COP26, a global summit, is "incomprehensible". 

One woman has so far been appointed to the UK's four-person senior team for the UN's conference, which was originally due to be held this year. It was delayed because of the pandemic. 

The letter says women are the “shock absorbers” of climate change, outlining how its “impacts disproportionately hit their livelihoods and food security, drive up levels of the violence they experience, and hold them back from engaging in education and the green economy”.

It goes on: “For the UK as the host country to neglect to take a stand on strengthening women’s voices in the international climate debate would be a step backwards for climate justice and a failure of responsibility to put together the strongest and best equipped team.

HeraldScotland: The actress Emma Thompson The actress Emma Thompson

“There is overwhelming evidence to suggest that an all-male leadership of the UK-hosted climate talks in 2021 will not be as respected and effective as a gender balanced team, and that we need the concerns, attitudes, talents and leadership of women represented.”

A UK Government spokesperson said: “The UK is committed to championing diversity and inclusivity throughout our COP26 presidency, and our vast network of leaders, diplomatic representatives and expert voices reflect this.

"In line with the Gender Action Plan agreed at COP25, the UK recognises that the full, meaningful and equal participation and leadership of women in climate policy is vital for achieving long-term climate goals."