More than 80 stock exchanges ring the bell for gender equality

10 March 2019

(March 2019) To mark International Women’s Day on 8 March, more than 80 stock exchanges are participating in the international ‘Ring the Bell’ campaign to raise awareness about the business case for women’s economic empowerment and to highlight opportunities for business and financial markets to advance gender equality and sustainable development. The UN Women’s theme for International Women’s Day 2019 is ‘Think equal, build smart, innovate for change’. The theme focuses on innovative ways in which the private sector can advance gender equality and women’s empowerment, particularly in the areas of social protection systems, access to public services, and sustainable infrastructure. In addition to, the bell ringing events, the bell ringing partner Organizations applaud the work done to date, and encourage stock exchanges to take further action to improve gender equality in their markets. “It’s time to get really serious about women’s empowerment. Discrimination is holding the world back economically and socially,” said Lise Kingo, CEO & Executive Director of the UN Global Compact. “We are ringing the bell for gender equality because we need everyone, including stock exchanges and companies everywhere, to take concrete actions in order to empower women in business.” Recognizing the multiplier effect of investing in women and girls, Fiona Reynolds, CEO of Principles for Responsible Investment, said “A global transition towards a low-carbon and sustainable economy presents several opportunities for achieving gender equality in the world of work that is critical for realizing the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement. Failing to recognize the gender dimension can add to growing inequality that we already see across the globe.” Stock exchanges around the world have worked alongside investors and businesses, taking practical action to advance gender equality through listing requirements, voluntary guidance documents, investment products, internal policies and training and awareness raising. The UN Global Compact and UN Women have also developed the Women’s Empowerment Principles to help companies advance gender equality in the workplace, marketplace and community. So far, more than 2,100 CEOs have signed up. Currently in its fifth year, the Ring the Bell initiative is a collaboration between the UN Global Compact, UN Women, Sustainable Stock Exchanges initiative, Women in ETFs, World Federation of Exchanges and the International Finance Corporation to raise awareness about the opportunities for the private sector to advance gender equality and sustainable development.  

About the SSE

The SSE initiative is a UN Partnership Programme organised by UNCTAD, the UN Global Compact, UNEP FI and the PRI. The SSE’s mission is to provide a global platform for exploring how exchanges, in collaboration with investors, companies (issuers), regulators, policymakers and relevant international organizations, can enhance performance on ESG (environmental, social and corporate governance) issues and encourage sustainable investment, including the financing of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The SSE seeks to achieve this mission through an integrated programme of conducting evidence-based policy analysis, facilitating a network and forum for multi-stakeholder consensus-building, and providing technical assistance and advisory services.