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Gender Quota At Davos

Friday, 28 Jan 2011 | 10:50 AM ET

The World Economic Forum is making a commitment to increase the visibility of women at Davos 2011 by instituting a gender quota. WEF has requested from their strategic partners, that for every five executives that are attending the meeting, one of the executives must be a woman. The organization has 100 strategic partners, including Google , Barclays and Goldman Sachs . Over the years, more women have attended the meeting. Between 2001–2005 women attendees made up only 9 – 15%, compared to 2010, where 17% of the participants were women.

The Gender Equality Project, in partnership with WEF launched a global certification system and global “standard” in gender today.

Gender equality has been on corporate agendas for some time but the process has been slow.

According to WEF, less than 3% of the CEOs of the world’s largest 500 companies are women.

There’s also the agenda pay gap to contend with. Nicole Schwab, founder of The Gender Equality Project told me “something needed to be done to accelerate progress in this area.” That’s how the “global certification system” came about to speed up the progress, increase transparency and a way to “track their progress.” Schwab said, “this is a great step, presence in top female leaders.”

Schwab believes gender diversity (diversity of thinking, gender equality) is a key element for success of companies. Schwab hopes the project will “accelerate progress and increase transparency.” A way of achieving this is to development assessment framework to measure and track their progress, Schwab said.

Davos 2011 - See Complete Coverage
Davos 2011 - See Complete Coverage

Companies that are participating in this global certification system include Alcatel-Lucent, BC Hydro in Canada. Schwab thinks finding a common measuring scale is key to increased transparency and closing the gap. The Gender Equality Project tracks a company’s success by looking at equal pay for equal work, recruitment & promotion, training & mentoring, balance of work and life, and a company’s culture.

Some variables include the level of education, level of responsibility, and number of years with the company and the percentage time worked (full-time, part-time). The Gender Equality Project will start with small group with different industries, test the framework all industries and the goal is to “build communities of companies,” Schwab said.

Questions? Comments? Write toinvestoragenda@cnbc.com

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