Chart of the Day: There will be even fewer women at Davos 2014 than at Davos 2013

davos_women_2014

Last year, only 17% of attendees at the World Economic Forum’s annual conference at Davos were women. This year, it’s 15%. It’s basically a game of Where’s Waldo, except imagine that Waldo represents over half of the world’s population, is trying to shape policy that will affect the world’s entire population, and is wearing a pantsuit instead of a stripy turtleneck. And check out this Olympic-level buck-passing from the conference’s managing director:

Organizers say it’s simply the reality of today’s world. Many participants are invited to Davos based solely on their job function—like the president of Harvard University, who is currently a woman. When the people in those roles change, so can the demographics of Davos.

“We’re on the front line of reflecting the world as it is, not how we want it to be,” says Adrian Monck, a managing director and head of communications for WEF. Monck says the organization would prefer that its meeting in Davos were more evenly distributed by gender, but its hands are tied by a different imperative: bringing together the world’s most powerful and influential people. Presently only 16.9% of Fortune 500 boards of directors are comprised of women. Fewer than 5% of the Fortune 500 are led by women.

Yeah, what do you want from him, feminists? He’s only the managing director of Davos. What do you want him to do, manage and direct the conference into making some rules about gender representation? Why would he do that when he’s “on the front line “of representing the status quo? Trust us, ladies, he doesn’t want to be sexist: he’s only sexist because the world is.

Chart via Quartz.

Avatar ImageChloe Angyal thinks that “on the front line of the reflecting the world as it is” is a pretty unimpressive place to be.

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Chloe Angyal is a journalist and scholar of popular culture from Sydney, Australia.

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  • http://feministing.com/members/dempseylicious23/ Clint Dempsey

    “Many participants are invited to Davos based solely on their job function—like the president of Harvard University, who is currently a woman. When the people in those roles change, so can the demographics of Davos.”

    So what you’re saying is that Davos should radically change its policy on the people (positions) it invites for no reason other than to ensure a 50/50 split gender demographic?

    I’m sorry that there still aren’t that many women running Fortune 500’s, but this isn’t something you can fix by promoting less qualified people on the basis of being the “correct” gender. This is something that, over time, will even itself out and any outside forces attempting to artificially speed this evening process should be done away with, full stop. The only thing that affirmative action policies accomplish is gaining the ire of the class groups that do not benefit while teaching the class groups that do benefit that they can be lazy and still get hired or invited over another more qualified person.

    Truly, to accomplish what you’re asking, Davos would have to completely eschew it’s policy of inviting the most influential and powerful people and instead invite a lot of people that probably would have zero input of real value to the topics at hand. Tell me again why this is a good thing?