Thirty-two WFE members joined the ’Ring the Bell for Gender Equality’ initiative between 5-9 March to promote female economic empowerment for International Women’s Day 2018 (Thursday 8 March). In total, 65 exchanges participated in the initiative.
The ’Ring the Bell for Gender Equality’ initiative between global exchanges and partner organisations - The WFE, International Finance Corporation (IFC), Sustainable Stock Exchanges (SSE) Initiative, UN Global Compact, UN Women, and Women in ETFs- promotes the business case for women's economic empowerment and opportunities for the private sector to advance gender equality.
Research shows women are an under-utilised economic resource and failing to create equality opportunities for women has a significant impact on the world economy. The McKinsey Global Institute estimates gender equality for women could improve global gross domestic product by as much as $28 trillion by 2025, while nearly doubling productivity. However, given the current rate of progress, it could take 217 years to close the gender gap, according to research by the World Economic Forum.
Stock exchanges are a powerful, aspirational voice and members recognise the importance of improving gender equality as a key economic driver. At each event, exchanges highlighted initiatives undertaken to improve female participation, such as requiring listed companies to improve diversity in senior management and on the boards of directors, the development of gender-friendly policies and gender-themed investment products, as well as improving transparency on gender policies and practices.
A number of WFE members also announced new initiatives, including: Dubai Finance Markets launched a newly formed Women Council at its bell ringing event which aims to encourage more female directorships for companies listed on its exchange, while the Colombo Stock Exchange debuted a new film, celebrating female leadership among companies listed on the CSE, and a new women-on-boards directory.
Some WFE members also made commitments to improve gender equality by signing up to the Women's Empowerment Principles.
The 32 WFE member exchanges that rung bells and made commitments to gender-equality are below: