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27 Feb 2020, 14:15
Rachel Waldholz

“Fridays for Future” strikes have expanded far beyond just students - study

Clean Energy Wire / Der Spiegel

Germany’s Fridays for Future climate strikes expanded over the course of 2019 as older protesters joined what began as a younger – and majority female - movement, a new study finds. The survey compared the climate strikes in March 2019, which drew an estimated 300,000 people in Germany, with the climate strike in September 2019, which attracted an estimated 1.4 million people across the country. Researchers found that the March protests in Germany were comparatively younger and more female: 52 percent of respondents were 14-19 years old, and more than 55 percent were women and girls. In September, when organizers explicitly called for participation from adults, there was a much more visible presence from traditional organizations including environmental NGOs and political parties, the study reports. Researchers found that only 22 percent of September respondents were 14-19, while the largest cohort of protesters (37 percent) were 25-34 years old, and the gender gap was smaller.

The gender gap remained larger outside Germany – globally, women made up about 60 percent of protesters at the climate strikes, Der Spiegel reports. Researchers also found high levels of education among surveyed protesters: a majority of adult protesters had at least a university education, both in Germany and globally.

In Germany, the researchers found that large proportions of protesters of all ages said climate activist Greta Thunberg had made them more interested in climate change, including more than forty percent of respondents under age 25. But globally, the ‘Greta Thunberg’ effect seemed to decrease slightly over the course of the year, the authors write.

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