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


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. She joined the Feministing team in 2009. Her writing about politics and popular culture has been published in The Atlantic, The Guardian, New York magazine, Reuters, The LA Times and many other outlets in the US, Australia, UK, and France. She makes regular appearances on radio and television in the US and Australia. She has an AB in Sociology from Princeton University and a PhD in Arts and Media from the University of New South Wales. Her academic work focuses on Hollywood romantic comedies; her doctoral thesis was about how the genre depicts gender, sex, and power, and grew out of a series she wrote for Feministing, the Feministing Rom Com Review. Chloe is a Senior Facilitator at The OpEd Project and a Senior Advisor to The Harry Potter Alliance. You can read more of her writing at

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

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