In celebration of International Women’s Day (8 March 2018), 63 stock exchanges around the world hosted a bell ringing ceremony to raise awareness of the pivotal role the private sector can play in advancing the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 5 on gender equality and women’s empowerment.
Now in its fourth iteration, Ring the Bell for Gender Equality is a partnership between UN Women, UN Global Compact, Sustainable Stock Exchanges Initiative, International Finance Corporation, Women in ETFs and World Federation of Exchanges.
The series of 63 events kicked off in New York on 7 March, with a bell ringing at Nasdaq in collaboration with UN Women. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Director of UN Women, was joined by Adena Friedman, President and CEO of Nasdaq, to ring the Nasdaq Stock Market Closing Bell.
Nasdaq strongly believes that women’s empowerment is an essential lever for global sustainability and is imperative for creating inclusive, prosperous economies that lead to success for women and men, families and communities, businesses and the world at large. Signing the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs)—a set of international standards that businesses can follow, Nasdaq will continue its efforts to enhance diversity and inclusion in the workplace and draw attention to this issue of the broader society.
The event will bring together businesses aspiring for gender equality. The private sector is well placed to directly advance gender equality and women’s empowerment and directly affect change on issues such as improving diversity in senior management and on the boards of directors, developing more gender-friendly policies, developing gender-themed investment products, and improving transparency on gender policies and practices. At the nexus of company and investor interaction, stock exchanges are uniquely positioned to influence capital markets to achieve this.
Ring the Bell activities will also promote public-private partnerships to accelerate progress in the implementation of the Women’s Empowerment Principles. As part of the events, participants are encouraged to sign the WEPs and make commitments to improve gender equality in their markets. The WEPs, launched in 2010 by UN Women and the UN Global Compact (UNGC), are a set of seven Principles offering practical guidance to businesses on how to empower women in the workplace, marketplace and community. Globally, over 1,800 business leaders have signed onto the WEPs.