When Women Step Up

3 minute read

At the world Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, Jan. 21–24, I listened as heads of state and CEOs discussed everything from fighting terrorism and growing economies to breakthroughs in health, education and green tech. (See Rana Foroohar’s report, page 18.) But as valuable as the general sessions were, the smaller encounters were often just as memorable. At a dinner for 34 of the world’s top CEOs and academic leaders, co-hosted by FORTUNE editor Alan Murray and Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg, we examined the gender gap in leadership with executives who collectively employ more than 4.5 million people. “Girls have been outperforming boys in school for decades–but they still represent only about 5% of FORTUNE 500 CEOs,” observes Sandberg, whose best seller Lean In has sharpened the conversation about what might be holding women back. “More women are rising in the management ranks, but they still are not making it to the top. We have to explore–honestly, deeply–why that is and what it will take to change it.”

This is a topic we’ve long been interested in at TIME: Our poll last summer on Women and Success, conducted with Real Simple, found that 75% of women said they would not want their boss’s job, and unlike men, most wouldn’t take it if offered. Happiness and a sense of purpose mattered more to women than fame or money. Which poses a challenge to all employers: If success depends on finding and keeping talent, both male and female, how do we shape our systems and structures to reflect those values?

I am delighted to mark a milestone in TIME’s own leadership history: our new publisher is Meredith Long, a veteran of our offices in Washington, San Francisco and Los Angeles and a passionate champion of TIME. I’ve worked with Meredith for years and am thrilled to have her as my business partner. If happiness and purpose are among the metrics that matter, I know that Meredith will contribute mightily to both as we continue to innovate and grow.

Nancy Gibbs, EDITOR


While in Central America, photojournalist Emanuele Satolli sought to explore the lives of immigrants through the things they carried from home. Among his subjects: 22-year-old Ariel Mejia, who was heading from the Guatemalan border town of Tecun Uman to meet his two brothers in New York. (His travel items are shown above.) See more portraits at lightbox.time.com.


For photographer Chris Buck (above left), TIME’s 17-hour Jan. 22 cover shoot in Brooklyn to illustrate the “sharing economy” did indeed require sharing–of patience. Twenty-five models had to pile in a Fiat 500 over a dozen times to achieve the right visual balance. “People squeezed into parts of a car I didn’t know could fit a human,” TIME photo editor Myles Little says. To see more images from the shoot, visit lightbox.time.com.


Subscribe to The Brief for free and get a daily email with the 12 stories you need to know to start your morning. For more, visit time.com/email.

Please recycle this magazine and remove inserts or samples before recycling

More Must-Reads from TIME

Contact us at letters@time.com