This year’s World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos started on January 22 and will go on till January 25 2019. Here is a look at how far the annual conference in the Swiss Alps has come in its endeavour in tackling the gender gap and creating gender diversity.
About WEF, Davos
Participation at the WEF’s flagship event is primarily by invite, also the attendees are drawn largely from the c-suite, where under-representation of women has sadly been the norm. However, for the fifth year in a row, the gender diversity has improved. Twenty-two per cent of participants expected at this year’s gathering will be women, according to the World Economic Forum, which is two per cent higher from 20% two years ago.
Even if considered just as a diversity commitment, this year’s conference also marks the third year in a row, that a majority of WEF co-chairs will be women. However, the overall share of female attendees remains less than one in four. Since 2011, the World Economic Forum has tried to increase the female participation by introducing at least one woman for every five senior executives that attended the conference.
Twenty-two per cent of participants expected at this year’s gathering will be women, according to the World Economic Forum, which is two per cent higher from 20% two years ago.
Here is a look at what some of the women leaders of the world said during the conference and how they upped the female quotient.
Jacinda Ardern on Climate Change
Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand’s prime minister, spoke during a panel session on the opening day of the World Economic Forum on Safeguarding Our Planet. She urged her global counterparts to think carefully about the role they play in addressing global warming. She urged her fellow counterparts by saying, “Do you want to be a leader that looks back in time and say that you were on the wrong side of the argument when the world was crying out for a solution?”
The 38-year-old prime minister, made history last year by giving birth to her baby while holding office.
Angela Merkel on Global financial systems
German Chancellor for 13 years, Angela Merkel expressed “grave doubts” about a changing approach to global affairs in which compromise and multilateralism seem to be lacking.
“There is a new approach that we see in the world today. An approach that harbours doubts as to the validity of the international system, they say ‘shouldn’t we look after our own interests first’ and then out of that develop an order that is good for all,” the 64-year-old politician told an audience at the World Economic Forum.
Christine Lagarde on US-China trade war
International Monetary Fund Managing Director, Christine Lagarde said, “That the Chinese economy slowing down is fine. It is legitimate, it is right and I think it is very much to be controlled by Chinese authorities.”
Lagarde has been holding the position at the IMF since July 2011.
Haifaa Al-Mansour on Arab Women
Saudi Arabia’s first female filmmaker, Haifaa Al-Mansour, was honoured at the WEF’s Crystal Award as an “exceptional cultural leader.” She said, “In all the scripts I get, Muslim and Arab women are all victims and sad, and things are happening to them — and it’s like no, we’re very sassy. We’re very strong. Don’t take us for granted.”