Is Deauville the Next Davos? Conclusions of The Women's Forum

Many panels and debates at WFLast weekend, more than 1000 thought leaders came together to discuss the Economy and Society from a female perspective. Unlike the Davos Global Forum, in Deauville powerful women are in the majority at the fifth international Women's Forum for the Economy and Society. Its motto is:

"Think again, think ahead! It is time for action, change and hope".

There were many international speakers unveiling their ideas on politics, entrepreneurship, economics; a lot of the time about the effects of the financial crisis, but also on the chances and opportunities that it brings. Among the speakers - 17 Rising Talents of 2009 - was Founder of Smarta, Shaa Wasmund.

Some conclusions from the forum were:

Women are Hit Hard by the Financial Crisis

It may be that women-led hedge funds have performed better in the financial crisis than hedge funds run by men - as was one of the conclusions of a Report launched at the Women's Forum - and yet women and girls in poor countries have been hit the hardest by the implosion of banks thousands of miles away.

The developed world has received far more funding to combat the crisis, in comparison to that received by the worlds poorest countries. As a result, women now need similarly large-scale solutions, including access to capital and to larger markets, to combat the crisis.

Founder of WF: Aude Zieseniss de Thuin
"The ground has shifted beneath the feet of our business models and social and economic policies”, explains Founder and CEO Aude Zieseniss de Thuin. "The Women’s Forum for the Economy and Society views moments of rupture like this as an opportunity to advance new ideas, technologies and even paradigms for society and the economy. With their male counterparts, women have a key role to play in the process of creating a more resilient future," the Founder of the Women’s Forum said.

Empowering Women makes Financial Sense

Discussed at great length, was the idea that empowering women economically is not just a matter of fairness, but of financial sense.  This conclusion, as reported by Ruth Sunderland of The Guardian, came from the following reasoning:

  • A better mix of male and female investment styles would lead to greater stability on (financial) markets worldwide. Giving women a voice in restructuring the world's financial architecture in the developed world is also an imperative for the wellbeing of women in the developing world.
  • Investing in women and girls is a powerful catalyst for poor countries to break entrenched cycles of poverty and to create a more even distribution of income.

Melanne Verveer, U.S. Ambassador-at-large for Global Women’s Issues, was appointed in an unprecedented position and office by President Obama in recognition of the importance to invest in women, in the United States and across the globe, to advance economic, social and political progress:
“We need to do a better job of tapping into the kind of leaders who are not in the public eye, but who have enormous potential to make a difference. Real advancement for women will only come when we have these two kinds of leadership working in tandem: advocacy at the top, but also coordinated support and strength at the grassroots level. Without women’s full participation in our societies, we cannot solve the pressing security, environmental, economic and health challenges the world faces today.”

Focus on Money but also on Food, Education, Health

At the Women's Forum, it was agreed that a woman's voice was needed to broaden the discussion. Not only Money, Bonuses and War should be on the agendas of thought leaders, but also the supply of humanity's basic needs for food, water, shelter and education.

Get the Women Entrepreneurs Going

One of the goals of the Women's Forum is to empower female entrepreneurs. Many entrepreneurial initiatives are accordingly  presented at the Women's Forum, such as the Cartier's Women's Initiative Awards, in which five female entrepreneurs, one per continent, are awarded annually. Each of them receives coaching support for a full year, a $20,000 grant and an exclusive Trophy designed by Cartier, and the Rising Talents scheme of the Women's Forum.

For more information see the Women's Forum

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