(eTN) – The venue of this year’s press conference for the Women’s Forum Global Meeting 2010 in Paris could not have been any better and could not have been held at a more exclusive address than at the Avenue des Champs-Elysèe next to the Arc D`Triumphe.
The Women’s Forum for Economy and Society is women’s answer to the strictly men only World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos. This year, the forum will be held at the seaside in Deauville from October 14-16, 2010 with the theme of “CHANGE: Make it happen.” In contrast to Davos, there are no police blockades or demonstrations; it is simply high profile and exclusive. According to the organizer, this 6th edition is going to be exceptional.
Founded in 2005 by Aude Zieseniss deThuin, the Women’s Forum for the Economy and Society is an independent global forum of powerful women from around the world. Over 1,200 leading women and men from 80 countries around the world will share their visions and solutions on the central theme of “CHANGE: Make it happen.” This represents a 20 percent increase in participants as compared to last year’s 1,000 delegates.
In an era of certainty and opportunity, traditional attitudes and means of action do not seem to work any longer, and this year, the focus of the forum will be on the need for change in these five areas: politics, economy, environment, global health, and women’s leadership. Aude Zieseniss de Thuin said, “There should be more than only an average of 17 percent of women among members of parliamentary worldwide.”
On the agenda for Change in Global Health are keynote speakers like Paul Bulcke, CEO, Nestle SA; and Chris Viehbacher, CEO, Sanofi-aventis. Anne Lauvergeon, CEO Arveva; Cherie Blair, Founder, Cherie Blair Foundation for Women UK; Xin Zang, CEO, Soho China PRC; and Wendy Luhabe, of the South African Women’s Investment Fund, will be discussing Change in Business – “What do we need now for innovation?” with Moira Forbes, Publisher, ForbesWomen, USA.
The list on who is who is long. Among the participants are: Christine Lagarde, French Minister of Economy, Industry, and Employment; Suzanne Moubarak, First Lady of Egypt and President of the Women’s International Peace Movement EGYPT; Irina Bokova, Director General of Unesco; Zainab Salbi, Founder, Women for Women International Iraq; Lorie Jackson, ExxonMobil, Washington, Director of Women’s Economic Opportunity Initiative for ExonMobil and commitment to Women; just to name a few.
One of the highlights of the forum will be The Cartier Women’s Initiative Award. Fifteen women entrepreneurs from 11 countries were selected from over 600 applications for creativity, social responsibility, and financial sustainability of their projects by an international jury (among them is HE Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi, UAE, Minister of Trade UAE; Wendy Luhabe, Founder Member, Women Private Equity Fund; Leyla Alaton Turkey, Board Member, Alarko Group Istanbul; etc.)
Change – make it happen – is the issue, but will it happen?
Nicole Schwab, daughter of Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, said: “The Gender Equality Project plays a key role in offering new ways of thinking. It is about embracing new management styles. But there is still a long way to go to develop equal opportunity between men and women at their workplace in the world.”
According to the gender Global Gender Gap Index 2009, she may be right.
The report’s Index assesses countries on how well they are dividing their resources and opportunities among their male and female populations, regardless of the overall levels of these resources and opportunities. South Africa and Lesotho made great strides in closing their gender gaps to enter the top 10, at the 6th and 10th positions, respectively. The Philippines (9) lost ground for the first time in four years but remains the leading Asian country in the rankings.
Switzerland is ranking in the top (1) from Norway (3), which slipped to third position behind Finland (2). Sweden (4) completed the Nordic countries’ continued dominance of the top 4.