I think that in the last year or so technical disparities between the top 5 ladies skaters and the rest have made podium finishes impossible for those out of the top 5.
In the 1990s, a slew of ladies competitors had the triple-doubles and single triple jumps needed for a podium finish. A lady who was in 11th or 9th place at one Worlds could move up into the top 5 simply by completing all of her jumps successfully.
Now, many ladies won't be able to make it into the top 5 even if they complete a perfect program.. Imagine Alyssa Czisny having an absolute perfect skate at Worlds. She completes 7 triples with two triple-double combinations in both short and long program. With not a single mistake on any of her jumps, she would still not make the top 5 or 6! That's because the other ladies with triple-triples will come out on top of her. You could apply the same formula to Sarah Meier and Joannie Rochette who will never ever make the podium no matter how flawless their programs are. The triple-triple gap is too difficult to compensate for with other jumps or program components.. Beautiful spirals, Ina Bauers, and spins won't make the difference. Neither will choreography.
That said, I hope the next generation of ladies skaters will have triple-triples at their disposal so that they have even a remote chance of making the podium or top 5 that most of today's ladies cannot. Most ladies competitors of today are behind their time. They cannot dream of medals but only of a top 10 finish. The best example of that is Fumie Suguri. This three-time World medalist wouldn't make the top 5 even at her best even though she has been competitive before.