World Economic Forum represents a harsh reality for women

Poorvi Gupta
Jan 20, 2016 17:25 IST
Women at World Economic Forum

World Economic Forum is the goto event for the world’s most powerful people to talk and discuss the global economy. The annual forum kickstarts this week in the ski resort of Davos, Switzerland. But despite the high powered congregation, only 18% of the forum's attendees are women, grossly underscoring the imbalances in important positions. The percentage has only increased one percent from last year and three percent in the last five years. That is below the average of one percent each year.


Some of the advocates of female inclusion in economic matters like Sheryl Sandberg, Melinda Gates, Christine Lagarde and Queen Rania of Jordan will be there to encourage support for women in various important matters concerning the society.

“The WEF has received criticism in the past for the lack of gender parity at the annual event and has tried to remedy the issue with a “concerted effort” to get more women involved, says Saadia Zahidi, head of employment and gender initiatives at the WEF,” writes Fortune.

This year, the organisers have included the unequal status of women in the official agenda of the conference. Thereby including a panel discussion on “The Gender Impact of the Fourth Industrial Revolution” and a debate on “Progress towards Parity.” They have also decided to launch a Global Challenge for Gender Parity from this year onwards.


Also Read: How to make your company more gender balanced in 5 Simple Ways

The forum’s effort need not be underestimated and yet there is huge opportunity of using women in the workforce. It has also been announced that the organiser’s have kept parity in the six co-chairs of this year’s forum. The women who will be there for the co-chairs are General Motors CEO Mary Barra, Tunisian human rights activist Amira Yahyaoui, and Sharan Burrow, general secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation.

The organisers of the high-profile event are putting every effort in getting more women to attend the event. Until 15 years back, women in the WEF were only about nine percent. The glaring concern caught their eyes and they started coming up with annual reports on global gender disparity from 2005 in various sectors like pay gap, disparity in managerial levels etc.

Sources: Women in the World / Fortune

Picture Credit- Middle East

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