Today’s Power Point: Where Were the Women at Davos?

Check out this info from the Aurora Monthly Newsletter put out by

Following recent headlines about the lack of women at Davos again this year, women question the role of such a forum if it doesn’t comprise diverse leadership. The World Economic Forum’s own leadership structure that sets the agenda and decides who attends is not gender diverse. 4 / 22 foundation board members are women. There are 0 women on the managing board responsible for WEF’s operations and running. 2 / 10 senior directors responsible for subject areas within WEF are female. It ‘d be quite insightful to know which corporations and Governments in attendance at Davos sent mixed gender delegations.

In chaos is opportunity. Mark my words, despite the many real dangers that women (being often the last hired) might face heightened vulnerability to losing jobs during an economic downturn, the current economic chaos is great opportunity for women to advance.

First of all, when there’s a mess to clean up, they always bring in the women, right? Second, when those in power can’t figure out what to do, they are more open than usual to new solutions and in opening the table to previously untapped individuals who might offer new ideas for the solutions they are desperately seeking in order to retain their positions. And finally, as the public and investors daily lose more confidence in the men who have been in charge for so long, pure pragmatism says that if you can offer a solution and it works, they’ll no longer care whether you have a higher pitched voice and sometimes wear a skirt. So women can move into leadership positions that have never before been open, and suddenly guess what–women in power and leadership roles becomes normalized, and considering ability before gender becomes normal operating procedure.

This is one of those Power Point moments for women. Who will step up to take advantage of it? I can’t wait to see what happens in the next decade.

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  1. Mary Schnack on February 3, 2009 at 12:57 pm

    Hi Gloria–I can’t see the power point slides. They don’t come across. But I’ve been reading a lot about Davos so I really enjoyed seeing this perspective. There was a lot of publicity about “the Girl Effect” and that was really positive. I did a training for the Nike Foundation with girls in Kenya just two months ago. The Nike Foundation has the website I want to start working on how to get an invitation to Davos next year! Let’s get A LOT of women to do that so we can increase our numbers! Mary Schnack

  2. Gloria Feldt on February 3, 2009 at 12:58 pm

    Mary, thanks for posting. And what a fabulous idea to start now gathering women to go to Davos next year. Very exciting. Organized with an agenda of course.

    I am lol-ing about the “Power Point slides”. There aren’t any. I am such a Luddite that I don’t even know how to make them, but I like the phrase. I plan to post Power Points for women now and then on this blog and elsewhere.

  3. Nina M. on February 13, 2009 at 12:58 pm

    Great post, Gloria. I’d like to see us start talking about “integration” when we describe decision-making bodies that are lopsidedly male. At a bare-bones level, that’s what we’re talking about, isn’t it? There are some entities that are still largely segregated – and almost everyone understands that segregation is a bad thing.

    What do you think about using those terms – integration / segregation – in this context?

    Mary, I agree, the Girl Effect website is awesome. 🙂

  4. Gloria Feldt on February 13, 2009 at 12:58 pm

    Nina, “Segregation” does it as a negative descriptive for me, but I am not sure “integration” does as a positive. Seems like a more positive “positive” would be better. “Inclusive”, perhaps. Or inclusion versus exclusion if you want to be more symmetrical. A very important language issue to consider however. Other thoughts, Nina, Mary, or anyone?

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