This year’s Davos was significant for the women’s movement on many counts. With less than one out of five in the audience being women, (17% in total, to be precise), it administered a grilling reality check to the world that we have not been making as much progress as we may have liked, going into 2015.
Davos 2015, right on point, put the session titled ‘Ending Poverty Through Parity’ on their agenda, which asked: How can investing in women and girls accelerate progress on the new development goals?
Here are some of the most simplistic yet path breaking quotes delivered by its speakers Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka (Undersecretary-General and Executive Director, United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women), Paul Kagame (President of Rwanda- the nation with the highest percentage of women in Parliament at 67%), Erna Solberg (Prime Minister of Norway), Paul Polman (Chief Executive Officer, Unilever, United Kingdom) and Melinda French Gates (Co-Chair, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, USA).
1. “Patriarchy is bestowed on men at birth. Whether you want it or not, you have a privilege as a man, and you either fight against it or reject it by becoming a feminist man, or you enjoy the privileges that come with it.” -Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka
2.“With technology, we can achieve universal access to secondary education within a generation.” -Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka
3. “If you invest in a girl or a woman, you are investing in everybody else.” Melinda Gates, “Technology has brought many possibilities in education and health that are key to women.” -Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda
4.“A critical issue for women is the possibility to be a mother and the ability to participate fully in the workforce.” -Erna Solberg, Prime Minister of Norway
5. “We put a gender lens on our whole value chain.” -Paul Polman, Chief Executive Officer, Unilever, United Kingdom
6. We know the answers but we have not used all the knowledge we have to make a difference. -Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka
7. If you had parity of employment in Africa you would raise GDP by 12% -Melinda French Gates
8. We should invest in women because it’s fair. It is a human right. -Erna Solberg
9. Anyone with a decent brain must know it’s better to hire from 100% of the population. -Paul Polman
10. Women are driven by a deeper sense of purpose, they have a longer view. -Paul Polman
11. At the rate we’re going it will take 50 years until we have parity in politics. -Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka
12.Our brands are 80% there to serve women. -Paul Polman
13. Getting cell phones into the hands of women is an important step. -Melinda Gates
14. Technology is critical for universal access to education. -Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka
15. Technology can mean girls learning in safe places where there’s the threat of terrorism. -Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka
16. What I’m most excited about is that technology gives women a voice. -Paul Polman
17. We now have 10 weeks of mandatory paternity leave for men in Norway. -Erna Solberg
18. We’ve cut the number of children dying under the age of 5 by half since 1990. -Melinda French Gates
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