IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is partnering with more than 80 stock exchanges in the global Ring the Bell for Gender Equality initiative to celebrate International Women’s Day 2020. This annual event encourages the private sector to expand opportunities for women as leaders, employees, entrepreneurs, and consumers to promote sustainable development.
Closing socio-economic gaps between men and women helps drive business and economic growth and improves the lives of families and communities. Strengthening gender equality increases resiliency to violence and conflict.
“Women are fundamental to inclusive growth and economic development,” said Stephanie von Friedeburg, Chief Operating Officer, IFC. “Studies show companies with more women on boards and at senior management levels perform better financially and pay greater attention to environmental, social, and governance standards.”
The 2020 Ring the Bell events mark the sixth year of IFC’s partnership with stock exchanges. Participating exchanges and companies can promote gender equality in various ways—by signing on to the Women’s Empowerment Principles, which offer guidance to companies on ways to promote gender equality in the workplace, marketplace, and community. Exchanges and companies can also support by developing female-oriented investment products, reporting to shareholders on diversity practices, or requiring listed companies to disclose gender-disaggregated data in their operations.
“Empowering women and promoting gender equality across the private sector is smart business and critical to achieving our global sustainability goals,” said Mary Porter Peschka, Director for Environment, Social and Governance at IFC. “Stock markets are uniquely positioned to influence their markets and IFC applauds their continued commitment to accelerating opportunities for women.”
IFC works with regulators and stock exchanges across emerging markets to encourage increased gender diversity in leadership positions. Stock exchanges in Bangladesh, Egypt, Kazakhstan, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Uganda, and Vietnam are partnering with IFC in various ways, including developing or updating corporate governance codes to incorporate provisions on board diversity and equal opportunities; providing training and mentoring to women; or introducing our ESG Reporting Guidance to improve disclosure practices of listed companies.
The Ring the Bell for Gender Equality event is a partnership of IFC, Sustainable Stock Exchanges Initiative (SSE), UN Global Compact, UN Women, Women in ETFs, and the World Federation of Exchanges.