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Not just a man’s world: All-women chair for 2018 World Economic Forum

The all-women chair includes an Indian social entrepreneur Chetna Sinha along with International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde.

world Updated: Nov 15, 2017 10:38 IST
Agencies
Agencies
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
World Economic Forum,2018 WEF,Women's equality
Participants and visitors arrive at the India Economic Summit, hosted by the World Economic Forum, in New Delhi.(AFP File Photo)

The World Economic Forum’s annual meeting next year in Davos will be chaired exclusively by women, including International Monetary Fund director Christine Lagarde and India’s Chetna Sinha.

It will be the first time in Geneva-based WEF’s nearly five-decade history that its Davos meeting will have all women co-chairs.

The WEF, which has been criticised in the past for featuring fewer women leaders, said the co-chairs represented both the public and private sectors, international organisations, organised labour, academia and science as well as the civil society.

“They will lend a strong voice to all parts of society, ensuring a multistakeholder approach to the programme and eventually the impact of the Annual Meeting 2018,” the organisation said.

Other than Lagarde and Sinha the panel will include Norwegian prime minister Erna Solberg, IBM chief Ginni Rometty, International Trade Union Confederation general secretary Sharan Burrow, CERN director-general Fabiola Gianotti and ENGIE chief executive Isabelle Kocher.

Sinha is a social entrepreneur, a microfinance banker, an economist, a farmer and an activist who has been working with marginalised communities since 1986. She is also the founder and president of Mann Deshi Mahila Bank and Mann Deshi Foundation.

Sinha has partnered with global organisations to develop corporate community partnership programmes that allow the corporate sector in the United State and Europe to gain a unique view of the impact that microfinance initiatives have on the local rural population.

Gianotti was the first female director-general of the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) last year, while ENGIE’s Kocher is the first Frenchwoman to lead a company in Paris’s CAC 40 stock market benchmark index.

More than 3,000 global leaders, including 100 CEOs and several government officials, will congregate at the Swiss Alpine town from January 23-26 to discuss ‘creating a shared future in a fractured world’ -- WEF’s 2018 theme.

“Creating a shared future in a fractured world requires addressing issues on the global agenda in a holistic, interconnected and future-oriented way,” WEF’s founder and executive chairperson Klaus Schwab said.

The decision was announced shortly after the organisation warned earlier this month that the global gender gap was now widening following a decade of slow progress and gender equality was not expected to materialise until 2234.

The WEF, which describes itself as an international organisation for public-private cooperation and was established in 1971 as a not-for-profit foundation, hosts its annual meeting in Davos every year in January.

First Published: Nov 15, 2017 10:38 IST