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World Economic Forum 2016: one chart that shows the gender diversity problem at Davos

Just 18 per cent of participants at this year's event are women

Hazel Sheffield
Tuesday 19 January 2016 11:08 GMT
Davos is the highest town in Europe
Davos is the highest town in Europe ( Sonderegger)

The World Economic Forum is a four-day conference at a Swiss ski resort in - you guessed it - Davos.

This year, 2,500 delegates are attending, including 40 heads of state and 14 Nobel Laureates, to discuss the theme: "Mastering the fourth industrial revolution".

Even if you have an invite, it costs $27,000 (£19,000) for a ticket.

Overwhelmingly, the people who attend are men. Just 18 per cent of the delegates are women. Davos is celebrating that this is 1 per cent more than last year, but it's still a shockingly low proportion.

That's despite a gender quota started in 2011 to try and improve diversity, requiring corporations to bring one women for every four men who attend.

Those corporations likely had a tough job to find suitable candidates, because women are consistently under-represented at the top levels of senior management and governance.

When it was revealed by Oxfam that 62 people have as much wealth as half the world's population, only 9 of them were women.

Less than 10 per cent of directors of FTSE 100 companies are women. There are only 13 female heads of state, and only 22 per cent of all national parliamentarians are female.

Barri Rafferty, CEO of Ketchum North America, described Davos as a "barometer" for how women are doing in top roles at corporations, politics and NGOs.

She also told Fortune that at the evening events, people often assume she is someone's wife. Which doesn't look good on the barometer.

One of the greatest barriers to getting more women into senior roles is lack of access to the networks and the conversations that help shape the world - at places like Davos.

If Davos really is waving the flag for gender equality, the least it could do is grant an equal number of invites for women.

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