By Roxanne Mankin Cason
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
A gender-mindful approach should fuel the discourse and agenda at the World Economic Forum, which starts today in Davos, Switzerland, says Roxanne Mankin Cason. This change is possible, as there are people at the forum qualified to lead a new conversation.
Editor's Note: The following is a commentary. The opinions expressed are those of the author and not necessarily the views of Women's eNews.
(WOMENSENEWS)--Many of the world's most powerful leaders are now gathering in Davos, Switzerland, for the annual World Economic Forum, which starts today and ends Jan. 31. For years, the gathering was almost exclusively male and its discussions lacked consideration of the gender angle.
But change is more possible than ever and it is time for the World Economic Forum to move gender issues to the heart of its agenda.
Despite the lack of gender issues on past agendas, ironically the forum's annual Global Gender Gap report has become a trusted source of information on progress made--or the lack thereof--by the world's nations towards gender parity. Its premise is that a nation's well-being is correlated to the status of women. One has only to look at the top of the report's rankings, dominated by Scandinavian countries, to see the connection. At the bottom of the 2009 list: Yemen.
The discourse at the forum itself, however, hasn't been focused enough on the undervalued asset, in terms of human capital, represented by women and girls. Last year, during a Davos conversation on the collapse of Lehman Brothers, an investment bank, it was agreed that the 2008 economic crisis might have been averted had the firm been "Lehman Brothers and Sisters."
There is much more to say, though.
As this year's program explores its theme, "Rethink, Redesign, Rebuild," perhaps another word should be added: Reframe.
What topics might a reframed discussion include? Here are a few suggestions:
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