The open world: Compete, cooperate, create

16 - 18 OCTOBER 2013

The open world: Compete, cooperate, create Women's Forum GLOBAL MEETING 2013

The 2013 Women's Forum Global Meeting closed with a celebration of women's creativity and calls to deploy an innovative blend of cooperation and competition to boost the position of women around the world.Announcing that 2014 will see a major campaign for gender equality in the workplace in France, French Minister for Women's Rights Najat Vallaud-Belkacem said, "If women in our economies were on an equal footing with men in terms of use of their talents, we would gain 0.5% growth a year." She noted, "Only 12% of the active population in France works in a sector that is gender-neutral — where the number of men and women is roughly the same. Starting with education, we need to invent new solutions that help boys and girls develop equally."

In a wide-ranging talk on corporate social responsibility and women's unequal roles in developing societies, Paul Polman — CEO of Unilever, and member of a UN body to discuss the Post-2015 Development Agenda — commented, "We business leaders need cooperation for the common good to create a world that we can all function in. We have to get out of this quarterly rat-race of feeling that the only purpose of our lives is to satisfy our share-holders. We need a transformational shift towards new spirit of solidarity, co-operation and mutual accountability. We need to see the bigger picture, be less impulsive, we need to seek a larger purpose. We need more women".

In a discussion that focused on the digital and telecoms landscape in Europe, Fleur Pellerin, France's Minister delegate for SMEs, Innovation and the Digital Economy, called for European decision-makers to create new perspectives for youth. "We need to rewrite the European project, and inspire young people to believe they can participate in the economy of knowledge," she said. "We cannot allow ourselves to miss the Web 3.0 — the Internet of things, big data. We must create European Googles and Facebooks: the new champions of tomorrow."

The annual conference of the Women's Forum for the Economy and Society focused this year on a set of trends that are rapidly reshaping almost every sector of the economy and society. Technological forces — including new phenomena such as open innovation, collaboration platforms, crowd-sourcing, crowd-funding, co-creation, massive online learning and Big Data — can drive transformation in topics from business practices to online education, resource usage and global activism for human rights.

"The world of open is shifting the boundaries of every form of creativity, from business innovation to the arts," said Véronique Morali, President of the Women's Forum for the Economy and Society. "This is an important opportunity for all of us to participate in shaping a new dynamic that articulates competition and cooperation in innovative ways for the common good."