European & International News

World Economic Forum - If women are the way forward, where are they?

[Brussels, 02 February 2012] The annual meeting of the World Economic Forum, organised 25-29 January 2012 in Davos, that brought together top business leaders and selected intellectuals was a male gathering despite the efforts to increase women’s representation.

A new quota system demands that the largest members send one woman for every four men. Nevertheless, just 17% of the 2,500 delegates were female. About 80 percent of the WEF’s so-called strategic partner companies brought mixed-gender delegations.

At the five-day meeting more than 80 percent populated by men, women often were a minority of one on panels or not represented at all. Despite a push to encourage more women on to panels to discuss the issues of the day, just 20% of those invited to do so are women, up from 17% last year.

Panels on the future of banking, energy supplies, international finance and global risks were among those with no women except moderators. Women also were hard to find at many of the private gatherings aimed at shaping the future of the world’s leading industries.

On a positive note, this year was the first time the World Economic Forum included women’s leadership and gender gaps on the agenda on its annual meeting.

The panel “Women as the way forward”, attended among others by UN Women Executive Director Michelle Bachelet and COO of Facebook Sheryl Sandberg, concluded that addressing key issues such as economic growth, tackling poverty and climate change requires educating and investing in women and involving them in economic and political decision-making.

Sources:

Business Week: "Davos Women Minority of One as Sandberg Shares With Bossy Girls"

The Guardian: "Davos: If women are the future where are they?"

Image: Copyright by World Economic Forum swiss-image.ch/Photo by Sebastian Derungs

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