World Economic Forum Annual Meeting

20—23 janvier 2016 Davos-Klosters, Switzerland

It will take another 118 years until the global pay gap between men and women is finally closed. That's the year 2133.

So say the authors of the Global Gender Gap Report 2015, who have spent 10 years measuring the economic gender gap between men and women.

They found that since 2006, an extra quarter of a billion women have entered the labour force – and yet the annual pay for women only now equals the amount men were earning 10 years ago.

But it’s not all bad news: around the world, almost a quarter of a billion more women are in the workforce today than a decade ago, according to the same report. In many countries, more women are graduating from university than men.

In this session – panelled by Melinda Gates, Sheryl Sandberg and Canadian PM Justin Trudeau among others – host Lyse Doucet opens with a question:

Why are we still here, in 2016, discussing gender parity?

— Lyse Doucet

In the past decade, the gender gap across health, education, economic opportunity and politics has closed by only 4%. The economic gap has closed by just 3%. These are the findings of the Global Gender Gap Report, now in its 10th year.

Doucet says we're standing at the threshold of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, a new era of technological change that will have a disproportionately negative impact on the economic prospects of women, according to The Industry Gender Gap Report. "Many women are still struggling with the second and third revolutions," she says.

The report says:

The conclusion is clear. If current industry gender gap trends persist and labour market transformation towards new and emerging roles in computer, technology and engineering-related fields continues to outpace the rate at which women are currently entering those types of jobs, women are at risk of losing out on tomorrow’s best job opportunities while aggravating hiring processes for companies due to a restricted applicant pool and reducing the diversity dividend within the company.

How can we help women thrive?

1. Change our expectations

Men are expected to lead, provide and make decisions, while women are expected to nurture, says Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook. “Women continue to do the great majority of house care, even when they work full time.”

In the United States, there’s even a “toddler wage gap”, Sandberg says. Little boys do fewer chores and get paid more than little girls. "Boys are taking out the trash and cleaning dishes, and they're getting higher allowances."

Melinda Gates agrees. There's still an expectation among working couples that the mother will be the parent to take time off work to take their child to the doctor, she says.

2. Sponsor women in business

Mentorship schemes may exist, but they're really just a way to mitigate a male unconscious bias. Sponsors are a better bet: leaders who will take a risk on a female candidate, one who may say she’s not ready for the role, and help her navigate the early part of her career.

When Justin Trudeau came to office in Canada, he made sure that half of his cabinet was female. He went even further and began a campaign to encourage more women into parliament. The aim of the Ask her to run campaign was to make prominent women, women who contribute to their communities, to think about running for office. He explains: "Study after study has shown that men who are asked to run for office say: Do I have to wear a tie every day? Women say: Why me?"

"Men have to be part of this conversation," says Trudeau. "We shouldn’t be afraid of the word feminist – men and women should be able to use the word to describe themselves any time they want."

The leader, who unveiled the world’s first gender-balanced cabinet when he took power last year, said that his wife told him that as well as encouraging his daughter to be ambitious, he should “take as much effort to talk to his sons ... about how he treats women and how he is going to grow up to be a feminist just like Dad.” Read the full article here.

Moderated by

Lyse Doucet


Melinda Gates

Jonas Prising

Justin Trudeau

Sheryl Sandberg

Zhang Xin