To my great surprise this year, the Davos registration forms arrived with a space for Davos Wives to fill in our institutional affiliation. Having written last year about the humiliations of the blank badge, I’ve decided to take full credit for this major step forward for womankind: the recognition that we have lives outside our existence as the Wives of Davos men. My editor Chrystia Freeland is now waiting for a change in policy that would allow Davos mistresses to also list their affiliations.
When I wrote my column last year, I didn’t expect the outpouring of responses from Davos Wives, but I was delighted to find myself buttonholed by many in my cohort who longed to share their experiences of being snubbed at Davos.
While walking down the Promenade of Davos Platz on a sunny winter morning looking for a place to have a decent cup of hot chocolate (tip: better wait till you are in Zurich), I was approached by a Davos wife I’d never seen before. She thanked me for saying in my Reuters columns what she and other white-badged wives had been thinking for years.
She got the absurdity of our situation and knows that the way to cope is to laugh. “I love the snubs,” she said, and then explained how she handles the working lunches. “My strategy is to sit at the end of the table because then only one man is ignoring me while playing with his smartphone.
“The worst was the time I put my bag down, went to get a drink, and then realized I was sitting next to Abdullah Abdullah, who had just lost an election. He didn‘t come to Davos to talk to me, so I got up and moved to another table to sit with some wives.”