The Great Debate UK

from Davos Notebook:

Women on top — more quotas, please

I was in the lobby of the Steigenberg Belvedere waiting for my husband yesterday but there was nowhere to sit. Looking around I saw a Davos Wife  resting on a crowded stairway. I joined her and, of course, we struck up a conversation about Women at Davos. I could tell by her comfy snow boots she had been coming for years.

She explained to me that I had it all wrong. Women are at not the bottom of the ladder at Davos but in fact are the ones who make it work. Here is why: speakers are invited so that they can be on panels but the businessmen come so they can take meetings and do deals.

“The World Economic Forum produces all this content but needs to create an audience for the invited speakers,” she said. “The women who come are equal to their husbands and equal in drive and so they self select.” Since they aren’t given a role in the conference they have nothing to do but go to the panels. That’s why the audiences for the sessions on health, arts, science and, to some extent philanthropy, are largely made up of Davos Wives.  Davos would not function without these women.

I am all for  being allowed to attend panels on “Personalized Medicine”, “Design for the New Reality” “Ensuring Elusive Growth” and “What If Another Bank Fails?”.  But things have come to a pretty pass when a paid up Davos Wife (who is a business executive to boot) actually believes our role is simply to fill the seats. Nor do I do believe for a minute that this is what founder Klaus Schwab and his board have in mind for us.

from Davos Notebook:

Shared norms, soccer pundits and dealing with the ‘New Reality’

-- Mark Kobayashi-Hillary is the author of several books, including ‘Who Moved my Job?’ and ‘Global Services: Moving to a Level Playing Field’. The opinions expressed are his own. --

And so the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos is underway once again. The theme this year is Shared Norms for the New Reality, which according to the WEF is: “…reflecting the fact that we live in a world that is becoming increasingly complex and interconnected but also experiencing an erosion of common values and principles.”

from Davos Notebook:

Davos fails to grab the attention of angry protesters

The days when anti-capitalist protesters could rampage through Switzerland's financial capital Zurich in rage at the Davos talkfest 100 miles (150 km) to the east are long gone.

A couple of hundred anti-globalisation activists managed to rally in the nearby town of St. Gallen on Saturday against the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum opening this week. Braving a vicious north-east wind, they assembled near the station then marched peacefully through the centre of town, barely disrupting the good burghers as they went about their weekend shopping. At the front of the demo a large red banner proclaimed: "Take the future from the capitalists - Smash the WEF".

from Davos Notebook:

What Davos can learn from BP


By Christine Bader, who worked for BP from 1999-2008. The opinions expressed are her own.

Next week world leaders will gather in Davos for the annual World Economic Forum to discuss topics ranging from climate change to global risks and economic growth. Looming in the background will be last year’s massive Gulf oil spill, which has serious implications for all of those issues.

from Davos Notebook:

Is Davos really a zoo?

Watch Reuters Global Editor at Large Chrystia Freeland and Reuters finance blogger Felix Salmon debate the utility of the World Economic Forum's annual meeting at Davos and trade memories about their experiences at Davos over the years.

While Chrystia thinks Davos is a good hunting ground for journalism, Felix thinks it's "mostly zoological." Felix may have zero hope for the conference, but there are two topics Chrystia wants to know more about:

from Davos Notebook:

Celebrities and handshakes – is the WEF really working?

-Mark Kobayashi-Hillary is a British author, blogger, and advisor on technology, globalisation and corporate change, based in São Paulo, Brazil. The opinions expressed are his own.-

DAVOS AIDSThe World Economic Forum returns to Davos next week for the annual round of handshakes and backslapping between world leaders and A-list celebrities that aim to solve the major problems of the world. But when this blog ( asked readers if the annual WEF meeting in Davos is still relevant, more than two-thirds of you said that times have changed and little will be achieved.