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.
Business members of WEF get a certain number of invitations and can distribute them to their top employees as they see fit. The highest levels of the membership get four tickets, but if one of their tickets goes to a woman who is an executive or board member, the company is rewarded with a fifth ticket.
Here’s a look at the percentage of attendees from each country who are women (among countries with more than 10 participants). As a raw number, the United States is sending the most women.
The groups that consist of younger participants are more gender-balanced. Participants from both the “Young Global Leaders” and “Global Shapers” are comprised of about 50% men and 50% women, according to Monck.
You can search, filter, and explore the entire list of Davos attendees with this interactive tool.