Davos 2023: This Is How to Get More Women into Positions of Power
On the same day the Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern, stepped down saying she “no longer had enough in the tank to do the job justice”, women leaders met in Davos to discuss how to reach gender parity in leadership.
“Power is very hostile to women, we have just seen it this morning with Jacinda Ardern…” said Arancha Gonzalez Laya, Dean, The Paris School of International Affairs (PSIA), Sciences Po, during the session at the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting.
“Politics is an inhospitable place, but it is more inhospitable to women than it is to men. And this is something we should not accept.”
It will take 132 years to close the global gender gap, according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2022 – up from 100 years pre-pandemic. But that increases to 155 years for the Political Empowerment subindex, which is only 22% closed and the biggest of the gaps to close.
Only 5% of CEOs globally are women, according to a report published in July, while women make up fewer than one in five corporate leadership team members.
The Women’s Leadership: Towards Parity in Power session was moderated by Saadia Zahidi, Managing Director at the Forum, and the speakers also included Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, Leader of the Democratic Forces of Belarus, Masih Alinejad, journalist and activist, US Agency for Global Media and Gretchen Whitmer, Governor of the State of Michigan.
Watch the session in full here.
Here are some of the key quotes on women’s equality today, why we need more women in positions of power and how to close the gender gap.
Diversity improves economies and democracies
“We talk a lot about how to make democracies work better, and they will not work better if half of the participants in these democracies are not included…” said Gonzalez Laya.
Women were instrumental in the pandemic response, but we also need them running countries, she added.
“We just went through a massive health crisis, where were the women? They were nurses, doctors, workers at the base of the pyramids. And they saved us… Where are the women? In the education sector, in science, because what matters is using your brains and women have plenty of brains to use. But where are they not? They are not in positions of power.
“Our economies are full of bright women, but we need to make sure this is not just at the heart, the base of our societies and our economies. But they also take the positions of leadership, mostly because diversity – which is what women will add when they get to positions of power – adds to the solidity and quality of the results and frankly, we need a bit of quality and solidity of results.”