Indra Nooyi seeks women's quota at Davos

Last Updated: Fri, Jan 29, 2010 05:22 hrs

Indra Nooyi, the first Indian-born chief executive at PepsiCo, wants a quota system to get more women at the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Nooyi ranked No. 3 on Forbes' 100 Most Powerful Women list last year laments that at this 'one-of-a-kind initiative,' women are still grossly underrepresented.

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'We are up to 15 per cent now, but I think the numbers should be more like 40 per cent-50 per cent,' she told ForbesWoman at Davos noting that one of the problems is that women have not 'done enough' to bring other women into Davos.

While she acknowledged that definitive conclusions were rarely, if ever, reached at the Swiss resort, it is a time for great leaders, executives and thinkers to talk about issues in a 'fairly open way.'

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The 54-year-old business leader believes that bringing together a critical mass of women at Davos would ensure that women's issues were more prominent on the agenda.

Putting women on panels and having a quota system where every panel has at least one woman would 'change the whole nature of Davos,' she asserts. And just getting women to Davos at least once to 'show them how powerful Davos could be,' is the first step on a long road to success, she maintains.

Women's issues aside, Nooyi's outlook on 2010 is cautiously optimistic. While the Western economies-the US and Western Europe-are still struggling, the Middle East is experiencing tremendous buoyancy, she says.

Citing employment and job creation as the 'engine of growth,' Nooyi warns that North America, Mexico and Western Europe have to ramp up their efforts on these fronts, this year.

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'At this point, we have to put our faith in all of the leaders and hope that all of the policy actions they're taking actually leads to something,' she concludes.

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