Since 1971, the worlds of politics and economics have come together annually in Davos to talk about the future of global economics. Yet this year, the focus is on nothing less than – everything. At the invitation of software company SAP, our founder and CEO Henrike von Platen was there for the first time last week. Her main takeaways: a small cold and a large thirst for action!
As far as the altitude is concerned, Davos is a town of superlatives: at 1560 metres in height, the ski resort in Switzerland is the highest town in Europe. This year in particular there has been a lot of snow: during the world economy forum it was a sunny minus 17 (!) degrees.
The conference on the snow-covered summit is a thorn in the side for many. Critics say that, looking down from above, the issues discussed there by the wealthy world economy’s elite actually concern everyone and affect the poorest the most: climate action, equal opportunities and gender equality. This year, Theresa May and the French President Emmanuel Macron were absent, in addition to Donald Trump. However, the 16 year old climate activist Greta Thunberg from Sweden was present, with the school strike poster, with which she tirelessly protests for climate action in her home country, in her luggage.
Gender Equality: 1 of 17 goals
Henrike von Platen, who was in Davos for the first time in 2019, acknowledges the discontent: “As I have heard from many people during my days in Davos, statements from on high can be hard to put up with.” However, by the end her personal impression is totally different. The FPI founder, who was invited by SAP to speak about pay equity in “Davos House”, reports: “I have spoken to so many people who really want to change things in their companies.” At long last, the United Nations’ wish is also to take care of change permanently: they have undertaken 17 goals for 2030 and Gender Equality is one of these. Discussion was very intense, particularly in smaller groups, about how the UN Sustainable Development Goals could be achieved together: “These discussions and the personal contact are what moves us further on.” At the end of her trip, she returns to Berlin full of optimism and drive : “We can take care of equal pay overnight – with the people I met in Davos, that shouldn’t be a problem.”
PS: This year, over half of the 100 so-called “young global leaders” under 40 were women.
More about Henrike von Platen’s stay can be read here (German only): Davoser Zeitung, 29th January 2019
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