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Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) Rings The Bell For Gender Equality

Date 08/03/2016

Today the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) joined 34 other stock exchanges around the world in marking International Women’s Day (8 March) in order to raise awareness of gender equality and the need for transformation in the financial industry. The initiative involved collaboration with the UN Global Compact South Africa Network / National Business Initiative, the Sustainable Stock Exchanges Initiative (SSE), UN Women, IFC, the World Federation of Exchanges and Women in ETFs. 

The Ring the Bell for Gender Equality opening ceremony at the JSE, which was hosted by JSE Director of Marketing and Corporate Affairs Zeona Jacobs, included an insightful panel discussion on the United Nation’s Women Empowerment Principles.  The keynote address, was delivered by Public Protector, advocate Thulisilie Madonsela. These seven principles guide businesses on how to empower women in the workplace, marketplace and community. One of the three panelists was Dr Mantsika Amelia Matooane, who currently sits on The JSE Board and is a non-executive director of JSE Limited.

“Embracing diversity in the workplace is a key strength for any company and a definite competitive advantage,” said Jacobs. “Having inclusion at senior management level enables more strategic, out-of-the-box thinking and more efficient decision-making. The JSE is a good example of this, as seven of our 10 exco members are women and 51% of our employees are female. Because the JSE is regarded as a leader in the financial industry, we are ideally positioned to be a catalyst for gender transformation in the sector. This aligns with the efforts of our partner, the SSE, to contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, which includes aiming for gender equality. This objective has been identified as one of four goals stock exchanges are best positioned to support.”

Regarding the significance of the JSE’s involvement in the Ringing the Bell for Gender Equality project, Jacobs concludes, “As a longstanding partner of the Sustainable Stock Exchanges initiative and a member of the World Federation of Exchanges Sustainability Working Group, the JSE remains committed to promoting sustainable and equitable business. Being a part of significant global events such as these creates the opportunity for us to contextualise the debate for South Africa while expanding the global consensus on these issues.”