Addressing Women’s Rights and Gender Equality at the World Economic Forum in Davos

By Chloe Cornell

The World Economic Forum, commonly called “Davos” after the city it takes place, is an annual gathering of government and business leaders from around the world. For a few days these great minds come together to discuss the world economy and major issues. This year’s event marked the first time that the Forum’s Annual Meeting featured an all-female panel of co-chairs. Gender equality and increasing the number of women in the workforce was one of the important themes discussed this year.

The Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai spoke about the necessity of bringing men into the conversation about feminism and women’s rights. She stated, “Men have a big role to play… We have to teach young boys how to be men. In order to be a man you have to recognize that all women and all those around you have equal rights and that you are part of this movement for equality.”

Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, was a vocal advocate for gender equality. “I’m talking about hiring, promoting and retaining more women,” he said. “Not because it’s the right thing to do, or the nice thing to do, but because it’s the smart thing to do.”

Jack Ma, founder of the Chinese e-commerce retail giant also encouraged business leaders to hire more women for their companies. “If you want your company to be successful; if you want your company to operate with wisdom, with care, then women are the best,” he said.

“37% of senior management in Alibaba are women. Part of the ‘secret sauce’ of our success is because we have so many women colleagues.” Alibaba is the sixth-largest internet company in the world by revenue. Seems like Jack Ma is onto something.

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