Davos not a place to meet girls

by on January 31, 2009  •  In Uncategorized

Let's hope that the about-to-be new Prime Minister of Iceland, the world's Johannafirst openly gay head of state, is not looking forward to the World Economic Forum as one of the perks of the  job. From The Guardian, which gets cred for noticing:

Why are there so few women at Davos – and why do the organisers seem so unconcerned? An organisation that is supposed to draw from all the world's talent overlooks half of it.

 Flicking through the fat white book that lists everyone here, I counted only two female names in the first 50 – and the first of those is HH Princess Inaara, the Begum Aga Khan. No doubt talented, active in excellent philanthropic work – but hardly typical.

For the most part, this conference is a sea of middle-aged men in ties. Many sessions only involve male speakers. This afternoon's debate on development, chaired by Barbara Stocking of Oxfam, may be a Davos first, with an all-female panel.

The excuse, of course, is that Davos represents the world as it is. If most governments and businesses are run by men, then that it is not the fault of the World Economic Forum. But an organisation whose motto is "committed to improving the state of the world" should do better than that.

At a small dinner in an out of the way hotel last night, it took Africa to make a stand. A discussion of the "unknown Africa" (think growth and good government, not war) not only had two women speakers out of four, but one of them was a prime minister, Luisa Dias Diogo, who has run Mozambique since February 2004.


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