by Divya Badri
Davos is well known , during the meeting in January every year, to be the place where people meet old friends and contacts. It saves quite a few a lot of flights! I too met an old friend after 15 years! And it was a pleasure. This person is very accomplished and has been head of communications for World Economic Forum, UNCHR and the Global Fund for fight against AIDS and TB, the Chief of Advocacy for UNICEF, and a frequent public speaker for the cause of equality. As always, someone with such great communication skills is a pleasure to meet. Have a listen.
In wider world outside of Davos, there is so much inequality, it is easy to think that inequality exists only in poorer countries and in under-privileged societies. But at the session on violence against women, it was clear that even privileged women suffer violence and discrimination.
I am happy that women like Claudia and Amy Cuddy speak up, but even today Davos has only around 20% attendance by women and this hasn’t changed too much in the last 20 years. We need to do more not just across the world but even here.
There is good news. The Female Quotient lounge where Claudia spoke was buzzing with activity and this filled me with hope. I got a feeling that things are finally changing. It is not something we just talk about anymore. We are each one of us doing something about it.
From all-women co-chairs last year to not having manels*, we need to move from tokenism to real action.
If you think about it, there is a lot in it for the men too. Increasing levels of inclusion worldwide could increase GDP growth in countries like India. Diversity & inclusion can help Switzerland too. People with different cultural backgrounds, from different generations and gender, with individual abilities and working styles at workplace promote ideas and different perspectives.
So let us roll up our sleeves and try and improve equality worldwide at all levels everywhere. Gender equity is representative of the kind of inclusion we need in society today. When we include everyone, diversity is power.
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Claudia Romo Edelman is an advocate for the Hispanic community in the US and the founder of the We Are All Human Foundation. The Female Quotient, works with companies and business leaders to advance equality in the workplace. They hosted the FQ lounge at Davos. It is a Girls’ Lounge, a pop-up space at conferences and corporate events for women to connect, collaborate, and activate change together. They bring these lounges to traditionally male-dominated conferences. For the past forty years, the World Economic Forum is best known for its Annual Meeting in Davos-Klosters. Since 2003, its Open Forum convenes in January at the local Swiss Alpine School in the heart of Davos. They want to encourage dialogue and spread awareness on critical issues to the global economy. It is an open-debate format that is publicly accessible to local audiences in Switzerland and to global audiences via their website. They had a very interesting session on violence against women.#TheFemaleQuotient #WAAH #SLXlearning #DavosMoments
*MANEL: An all male panel at meetings and conferences.