Davos World Economic Forum P5O

Does the World Economic Forum in Davos reflect the global gender gap?

At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, only 17% of the participants are women. Pundits may be quick to note the event as a reflection of the global gender gap, but it is not. 

The answer to the question in the title? No, it does not reflect global gender gap. 

Why “no”? Clearly, women were underrepresented at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. At the event, women made up 17% of the participants. However, this does not infer that WEF fosters gender inequality. In fact, gender diversity is one of its main topics. Under the banner of “The New Global Context,” WEF aims to expand the participation of women in business, politics, education and other global issues. Actress Emma Watson, goodwill ambassador for U.N. Women, spoke of what women can contribute to the society if they were allowed more opportunities.

“They know that the world is being held back in every way, because they are not. Women share this planet 50/50 and they are under-represented, their potential astonishingly untapped,” she said.

In the past years, WEF considered women in attendance as wives only of CEOs attending. However, this perception has changed now, as female leaders offer insights on various matters at the World Economic Forum’s panels. Influential women executives who attended this year’s WEF included Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund. Apart from them, there’s also a new crop of prominent female leaders that graced the event. And of course, the WEF has a quota for partner companies to include one woman in their roster of delegates.

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Shonda Rhimes

The stark history of women and the glass ceiling, as told by Shonda Rhimes

In her thank-you speech, Hollywood executive producer Shonda Rhimes tells a strikingly honest account of women’s struggles in breaking the “glass ceiling.” Because of the work done in the past, women today now enjoy better career opportunities, Rhimes said.

“Do they know I haven’t broken any glass ceilings?”


In giving her thank-you speech for the Sherry Lansing Leadership Award, Hollywood executive producer Shonda Rhimes told her audience that she asked her publicist this question. The person behind TV shows such as Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal and How to Get Away with Murder, Rhimes received the award for reshaping the role of women and promoting diversity in these plots. Nevertheless, she insisted that her work was minimally important, as compared to the effort given by generations of women before her.


“How many women had to hit that glass to ripple it, to send out a thousand hairline fractures? How many women had to hit that glass before the pressure of their effort caused it to evolve from a thick pane of glass into just a thin sheet of splintered ice?”

Rhimes recounted the history of gender inequality in the entertainment industry. About 30 years ago, women were only designated to become secretaries, but not leaders in the field. Nevertheless, this had changed because women fought long and hard for equality. Those who had faced the glass ceiling first “ran back and forth” to hit it and weaken its structure. They had endured “cuts and bruises” in doing so, yet they never gave up. When Rhimes’ turn had come, she simply had to smash through a thin layer of ice.

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