Davos Man/Davos Woman

What is a 'Davos Man/Davos Woman'

Davos man/Davos woman refers to the members of the World Economic Forum, a collection of top leaders of all trades from around the world. The term is similar to "Masters of the Universe," which identifies the most influential traders and investors on Wall Street.

BREAKING DOWN 'Davos Man/Davos Woman'

Davos men and Davos women choose to see themselves as totally international – they don't align themselves with a national identity. In fact, they view national borders as pointless and obtrusive, and they see individual national governments as a thing of the past, something that is vanishing as we move into a future of global cooperation. Davos men and women meet each year to discuss potential solutions to the world's problems.

Background

Switzerland recognizes the World Economic Forum (WEF), a Swiss nonprofit foundation, as the standard for public-private cooperation. The WEF promotes collaboration between leaders in all areas of society to achieve progress toward the most pressing regional, global and industry-specific issues, including the global economy, inequality, and terrorism. The WEF meets annually in Davos, a resort in the Swiss Alps, and the location became so iconic that it inspired the term.

Political scientist Samuel P. Huntington is credited with coining the phrase "Davos man". The vast majority of WEF members were originally men; the term later expanded to include the Davos woman. Huntington opines in his 2004 article "Dead Souls: The Denationalization of the American Elite" that the Davos man's view of a global identity is not shared by the majority of common citizens.

Demographics of Davos Men and Women

In the annual Davos meeting in January of 2016, attendees included many well-known leaders and activists. Business leaders included Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg and Google's Eric Schmidt. Famous personalities included actor and environmental activist Leonardo DiCaprio and television chef Jamie Oliver.

While Davos members are more diverse than ever before, men still dominate the landscape: in 2016, women represented only 17% of Davos attendees. Global representation also heavily favors western regions such as Europe and the United States, while areas such as Africa and Latin America are poorly represented. At its start, the WEF was primarily made up of business leaders, and its corporate influence still lingers today despite the broader backgrounds of its members. Many critics argue that Davos men and women are too rich, elite, and removed from their respective communities to be representative of the world as a whole, and the term Davos man/Davos woman is often used in a derogatory manner.