Thursday, March 29, 2018

Three Girl Scouts + Three Days in the “Equality Lounge” at Davos

The Female Quotient is committed to advancing gender equality in the workplace. Known for their fabulous and inspiring “lounges” where women (and girls!) “connect, collaborate, and activate change together,” the Female Quotient recently hosted what they call an Equality Lounge during the World Economic Forum  in Davos. The gathering featured nearly 100 thought leaders and influencers discussing how to take equality from an ideal to a reality. Of course, Girl Scouts had to be there.

The Female Quotient invited Geneva based Girl Scouts Freya, Melissa, and Isahni from USA Girl Scouts Overseas to attend the Equality Lounge, giving the G.I.R.L.s (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)TM an incredible learning opportunity and an important seat at the leadership table. Here’s what they had to say about their experience…

Freya: Davos was a great experience, despite the four-hour train ride. I was excited at the thought of meeting inspiring women who are fighting for women’s equality. 

Melissa: Like our host in the Equality Lounge, Shelley Zalis, CEO of the Female Quotient. Her gender equality movement organizes lounges all over the world for women to share their stories and experience “the power of the pack.” 

Freya: Shelley made us all feel at ease with her upbeat personality. She described the power-generating panels installed on a nearby walkway, which produce “energy for equality” [through capturing and converting “footfall energy” into electrical power]. The number of steps registered will count toward an attempt at a [related] world record. 

Melissa: Meanwhile we had time to listen to some podium discussions, and we had the amazing opportunity to interview Maryam Monsef, the Canadian minister of status of women. She answered questions about equality and what we can do to raise awareness [about its importance].

Ishani: The venue was so welcoming—the perfectly decorated lounge, in pink and rose gold, felt relevant to people our age. There were posters promoting gender equality and influential women. It was a unique setting that added to our experience. 

Melissa: I found the atmosphere so inspiring. We heard great speakers like Carolyn Tastad of P&G [Procter & Gamble], who is an advocate for gender equality, and Matthieu Ricard, [who some in the media have referred to as] “the happiest person in the world.”

Ishani: We felt privileged to hear Carolyn a week before, when she came to the International School of Geneva to talk to us about gender equality and her experiences at P&G as a woman. 

Freya: Oh, and our attempt to set a world record on the walkway was very lively as we all stomped away. Visitors to the Equality Lounge joined us and helped motivate us as our legs tired. 

Melissa: Unfortunately, we were unable to complete the challenge [set a record], but we did produce more energy than expected! And it was great to see everyone jumping together, all synchronized. It was a truly unifying experience, and we were happy with what we achieved.

Ishani: Shelley even compared the bursts of energy from our synchronized jumping with the effectiveness of our combined strengths! 

Freya: For me, the highlight of the day was spending time with Shelley Zalis. Her inspiring message was that we are all different and have different strengths. While one person’s strengths alone might not get them very far, when we combine our special qualities we are unstoppable. 

Melissa: We were all so thrilled with the experience and so grateful that we had the opportunity to attend such an inspirational event. 

Freya: I learned a lot from my short time in Davos, about myself and about gender equality. I also learned that goals don’t always have to be big and that every step toward them, however small, counts.