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World Federation Of Exchanges & Five Partner Organisations Bring Together 43 Stock Exchanges To ‘Ring The Bell For Gender Equality’

Date 08/03/2017

The World Federation of Exchanges (“WFE”), which represents more than 200 market infrastructure providers including exchanges and CCPs, is pleased to confirm that its member exchanges are taking part in the third annual ‘Ring the Bell for Gender Equality’ series this week.

In total, 43 stock exchanges around the world will ring opening or closing bells between 6-10 March 2017, to celebrate International Women’s Day 2017 today, Wednesday 8 March 2017.

These events - organised in partnership between Sustainable Stock Exchanges (SSE) InitiativeUN Global CompactUN Women, the IFCWomen in ETFs and the World Federation of Exchanges - raise awareness about the opportunities for the private sector to advance gender equality and sustainable development. The key message is that gender equality is central to driving the global economy, and the private sector has an important role to play.

The ‘Ring the Bell’ event series, themed Women at Work this year, will serve to highlight the role of women, and the opportunity for business. This will involve encouraging stakeholders to remove legal, social, and economic barriers that are restricting women’s economic empowerment.

As part of the events, participants are encouraged to make commitments to improve gender equality in their markets, such as signing the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs), improving diversity in senior management and on the board, developing more gender-friendly policies, developing a gender-themed investment product, or improving transparency on gender policies and practices.

Nandini Sukumar, CEO, WFE said: “It is inspiring to see 43 exchanges taking part in the third year of this important initiative, and we are particularly proud that so many of our members and affiliates are ringing bells this week.  Gender equality is not only a critical social issue, but an economic one too.”

The exchanges taking part can be found here.

This week also sees the launch of an SSE-GIZ* report entitled ‘How Stock Exchanges can advance gender equality’.  The report looks at the state of gender equality globally, provides case studies on exchanges in 13 markets, and suggests recommendations for further action.

Key findings include:

  • Exchanges, through their unique relationships with both companies and investors, are well placed to address female representation in leadership, pay parity, family leave, sexual harassment in the workplace, flexible work, and support for women-owned small business.
  • Research shows that empowering women in each of these areas is not only the right thing to do, but also the smart thing to do with overwhelming evidence of positive-business impacts.
  • Exchanges are taking practical action to advance gender equality around the world through listing requirements, voluntary guidance documents, investment products, internal policies, awareness raising efforts and more.
  • While there are commendable examples of best practice, there is still room for improvement.  For example, of the 15 exchanges profiled in the report, a third track pay parity across their own organisations, and only two offer investment products that screen for gender-specific metrics. 

Please download the report here: https://www.unpri.org/download_report/28929 and you can also download a two-page quick reference guide here: https://www.unpri.org/download_report/29009

*The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH or GIZ in short is a German development agency headquartered in Bonn and Eschborn that provides services in the field of international development cooperation.