Women finally represent more than a fifth of the delegates at Davos

Not just Davos Man.
Not just Davos Man.
Image: AP Photo/Michel Euler
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Just over 20% of the 3,000 participants in the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos are women this year. That’s up from 18% in 2016 and 17% the year before. It also represents the highest level of female participation in the event’s history.

The WEF has been trying to nudge these numbers higher, despite the persistently low representation of women in corporate corner offices, from which the majority of Davos attendees are drawn. Women hold only 4.4% of CEO positions at S&P 500 companies, for example.

The roughly 120 organizations that pay the WEF an annual fee of 600,000 Swiss francs ($593,000) to be “strategic partners” get four tickets to attend the Davos forum with all-access passes (which cost an additional 27,000 francs each). If one of the four people they bring is a woman, the WEF lets them buy a badge for a fifth delegate.

The WEF also declared two years ago that at least 50% of the incoming participants in its Young Global Leaders and Global Shapers programs—a combined class of around 200 people each year—need to be women. Around 90% of the sessions on the public program during this year’s event have at least one female speaker.

Correction (Jan. 17): An earlier version of this story misstated the WEF’s policy for strategic partners. If an organization brings a woman as part of its four-member delegation, the additional fifth ticket is charged at full price.