There Is Hope: Inside Day 3 Of The Equality Lounge @ Davos 2018

Shelley Zalis, Sung-Joo Kim, and Suzanne Kounkel embrace after their panel, “Female Leaders on Changing the Game and Leaving a Legacy.”

It was clear on the final day of Davos that the message had gotten out: The Equality Lounge is unlike any other place at the Annual Meeting. If this fact wasn’t evidenced by the packed rooms, the chant at the end of the “Media and Finance” panel might have given it away (chant along at minute 47).

Describing how WWE fans have helped usher in a new era of gender equality in wrestling, Stephanie McMahon, Chief Brand Officer of the WWE, shared that the audience cheered, “This is hope!” during a recent match in the UAE that featured the company’s first ever performance by women.  At the end of the panel, Shelley Zalis, CEO of The Female Quotient, led the Equality Lounge in their own “This is hope!” chant.

Dorrit Moussaieff

While the topics across the day’s panels differed (such as the role culture plays in empowering women or how to transform the global financial system), the message was clear: Persistence and innovative solutions will continue to break down walls. For some, like Dorrit Moussaieff, the former first lady of Iceland (a country that recently passed a law requiring equal pay for men and women), the solution is simple. In an impromptu interview with Zallis, she mused, “Why shouldn’t women be able to do any job a man can do? It’s obvious….You should aim for 60% gender equality and settle for 50.” It was an appropriate end to three days of panels that celebrated women not settling for anything less than 100% of what they deserve.

Below are a few of our favorite quotes from the last day of the Equality Lounge in Davos 2018 that illustrate how hope combined with action will make an impact:


“I ask myself, ‘Am I doing really interesting things with really interesting people? And am I making impact?’”

– Janet Foutty, Chairman and CEO, Deloitte US Consulting


“You need to take risks. You need to put yourself in somewhat uncomfortable positions.”

Alyson Shontell, Editor-in-Chief, Business Insider US

Stephanie McMahon

“The more opportunities our women have to be the main event, the more opportunity there is.”

-Stephanie McMahon, Chief Brand Officer, WWE


“They say ‘It’s worse to put a woman in that role and have her fail.’ And I say, ‘No, it’s worse to not let her try.’”

– Sheila Patel, CEO of International Goldman Sachs Asset Management, Goldman Sachs


“We have to be ambassadors. And use our voice and translate it to the community.”

– Souad Mekhennet, Correspondent, Washington Post and WEF Young Global Leader


“Don’t be afraid of failure. If you’ve attempted what you want, you’ve already succeeded.”  

-Sung-Joo Kim, Founder and Chief Visionary Officer, Sungjoo Group and Chairperson, MCM Holding AG


“Make sure when you’re in the room, it’s different. It doesn’t have to be about you, but they have to know that things are different because you’re there.”

– Suzanne Kounkel, CMO, Deloitte US Consulting


“Don’t tell me I have a problem. Tell me what I can do about it. Focus on the solutions and where we are going.”

– Katja Iverson, President and Chief Executive Officer, Women Deliver


Devin Wenig

“You never want to look back and say ‘I didn’t try hard enough’ or ‘I wasn’t vocal enough.’ Be yourself and don’t self-regulate.”

– Devin Wenig, President and CEO, eBay


“Every single hiring decision is a chance to make this better.”

– Carolyn Everson, VP, Global Marketing Solutions, Facebook


“Good intention doesn’t drive performance. Women have to see paths to success so they walk the walk.”

-Dame Vivian Hunt, Managing Partner, McKinsey UK and Ireland

The energy in the Equality Lounge during Davos was unparalleled, and we couldn’t have achieved that without the participation of every woman and man who showed up. To watch sessions and get more highlights from the lounge, visit The Female Quotient Facebook page.