Issues of inequality dominated the Davos agenda this year, with the issue of gender disparity emerging as a critical theme debated amongst the gathering of global power elite. Women’s representation at World Economic Forum remained anemic, with women making up just 15%, or approximately 400 of the 2,600 attendees – down from 17% the year prior. While organizers have tried to boost female participation in recent years, including efforts to enact a quota for strategic partners, the elite gathering remains largely male-dominated.
Yet if we simply look to statistics to measure women’s ascendance into the highest levels of leadership today, we fail to see the bright spots in female leadership that metrics alone may fail to reflect. This year, for example, over 25 women from Forbes’ list of the 100 Most Powerful Women attended Davos. From heads to of state such as Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff to one of the world’s leading finance figures, IMF chief, Christine Lagarde, to business execs such as Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg and Marissa Mayer of Yahoo, the female leaders of Davos exemplified how women are now at the epicenter of global power in politics, business, and the economy.
In this spirit, Forbes was honored to host the 7th annual Forbes Power Women of Davos event. Hosted with EY’s Chairman & CEO, Mark Weinberger, 500 global leaders came together to celebrate the critical role women leaders play in shaping and advancing the global economy. As reflected in Davos, women remain largely under-represented at the highest levels of leadership, yet I remain encouraged that their influence across multiple spheres continues to expand in scale and scope.
Forbes Power Women honored include:
- Beth Brooke, Global Vice Chair, Public Policy, EY
- Helen Clark, Administrator, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
- Ertharin Cousin Executive Director, United Nations World Food Programme (WFP)
- Drew Gilpin Faust, President, Harvard University
- Arianna Huffington, Editor-In-Chief, Huffington Post Media Group, AOL
- Ellen Kullman, Chair of the Board and Chief Executive Officer, DuPont
- Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Nigeria
- Padmasree Warrior, Chief Technology and Strategy Officer, Cisco