NICOLA Sturgeon has said climate change must be treated as a “feminist issue”.

The First Minister was speaking as she hosted a panel event on gender equality at the COP26 climate change summit.

It followed a series of speeches about the disproportionate impact of climate change on women and girls, who are four times as likely to be displaced as men.

Women and girls are also more vulnerable to sexual violence as refugees.

As the climate warms, women are also being forced to work harder to get food or collect water in rural areas.

Ms Sturgeon said:“There is no doubt we must ensure that climate change is a feminist issue.

“We must make sure that the experiences of women and girls across the world, so often disproportionately impacted by climate change, are understood as we devise the solutions.

“And we must make sure that the voices of women are at the centre of creating and implementing the solutions to climate change.”

She said women were not pleading for support, but demanding to be empowered.

Earlier, the most powerful woman in American politics spoke as the head of the largest Congressional delegation ever sent to a COP.

Nancy Pelosi, who arrived in Glasgow with 21 other US politicians, said addressing climate change was a matter of “justice and equality”.

The Democratic Speaker of the House of Representatives said: “We come here fresh from advancing the most ambitious and consequential climate and energy legislation of all time in our country.”

She said that if she ruled the world her priority would be to invest in the education of women and girls.

Ms Pelosi spoke about US President Biden finally getting his long-delayed infrastructure package passed.

She said the $1trillion set of measures, including the most ambitious on climate change in US history, would helop deliver cleaner and greener energy.

"America is back - together for the planet, for the women, for our children," she said.

Also in the Congressional delegation is Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. 

Ahead of her arrival, Ms Pelosi said: “The climate crisis is the existential threat of our time, and America must continue to bring our boldest ambitions to the table to meet and beat our climate action goals.

“Together with this outstanding, experienced and diverse delegation including committee chairs, members of the House select committee on climate crisis and respected Members of Congress, I am honoured to once again return to the United Nations Climate Change Conference to convey the strong commitment of the US Congress in addressing this crisis and doing so in a way that puts justice and equity, particularly for indigenous communities, first.”

She continued: “As the world faces ‘Code Red for Humanity’ because of the climate crisis, America has the great responsibility and opportunity to meet this moment.

“Led by President Biden and the Democratic Congress, we will do just that: advancing clean air and clean water for public health, creating good-paying green jobs and advancing our pre-eminence in green technologies, protecting our national security and leaving our children and grandchildren a healthier planet and a better future.”

With the summit focusing on gender equality today, a giant puppet called Little Amal arrived in the central “Blue zone”, and appeared on stage before Ms Pelosi’s speech..

The 3.5m-tall puppet, which represents a young Syrian girl, has walked 8,000km across Europe to raise awareness around the needs of refugee children. 

UK Cop President Alok Sharma announced UK Government funding of £165 million for communities and women’s groups to tackle climate change.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan, the UK minister who is chairing the Gender Day event, said: “It is women, girls and those who are already most marginalised, that will be most severely impacted by climate change.

“But they also have a critical role to play to address the climate crisis.

“The UK is committed to addressing this dual challenge head on, committing new funding to empower communities and women’s groups to take locally-led adaptation action, to build local, national and global resilience.”