Over 100 exchanges ‘Ring the Bell for Gender Equality 2023’

8 March 2023

A record of over 116 exchanges around the world will this year support the ninth annual “Ring the Bell for Gender Equality” campaign, to raise awareness about the role and opportunities for the private sector to advance gender equality and sustainable development. For the ninth consecutive year, markets in 95 countries are planning to ring opening or closing bells to celebrate International Women’s Day 2023 – starting on 1 March and continuing until the end of the month.  The UN Women’s theme for International Women’s Day 2023 - “DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality” recognizes the contribution of women and girls around the world, who are leading the charge on climate change adaptation, mitigation, and response, to build a more sustainable future for all.  The Ring the Bell for Gender Equality annual event series was launched by the UN SSE, UN Global Compact and UN Women in 2015, with just 7 participating exchanges. Today it is coordinated by IFC, UN SSE, UN Global Compact, UN Women and The World Federation of Exchanges and regularly involves exchanges from around the world. Moving from awareness to action Exchanges that have participated in the past eight years of ringing the bell for gender equality have made progress by:
  • Promoting women’s access to finance and encouraging women to invest in public markets.
  • Developing new products, such as sustainability-linked bonds with gender criteria and gender bonds.
  • Signing and adopting the Women’s Empowerment Principles, which offer guidance to businesses on how to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment in the workplace, marketplace and community
  • Promoting gender equality listing criteria and gender data disclosure
These actions and more are encapsulated in the 2022 guidance from SSE, IFC and UN Women called “How exchanges can advance gender equality”. The Action Plan in this guidance summarises the main areas where exchanges can take action to contribute to greater gender equality. These cover both outward and inward-focused opportunities and are aligned with existing exchange initiatives and operations. In short, it builds on the market influence that exchanges can exercise to further gender equality.  Measuring progress In the area of gender equality in corporate boardrooms, the SSE, IFC and UN Women have produced an annual benchmark comparing exchanges worldwide based on the boardroom gender balance of their issuers. These annual Market Monitors also include information on regulatory developments (e.g. mandatory minimum rules for women on boards) and data on women in other corporate leadership roles (e.g. CEOs and Chairpersons). How does your market compare to others around the world? You can find out using the SSE’s newly expanded online database, or by downloading one of our recent Market Monitors on women in corporate leadership.    Engaging leadership The UN SSE and IFC are also convening leaders of the world’s exchanges in CEO Roundtables on gender equality. The first such event in 2021 explored the role of women in senior leadership positions, and reflected on lessons learnt and emergent themes. More recently in Q4 2022, the SSE and IFC convened a global event on women in corporate leadership, as well as a region specific dialogue on gender equality in Latin America (En español), working with the federation of Latin American exchanges (FIAB).      Educating the market To further support exchange’s efforts in enhancing gender equality in their markets, UN SSE is partnering with IFC, SSE Partner Exchanges and subject matter experts to provide markets with high-quality training on gender equality. This training program is being developed with stock exchanges to ensure its relevance and utility for markets worldwide. The pilot program will be made available for staff members of SSE Partner Exchanges, regulatory authorities and our partner organizations. Stock exchanges and regulatory authorities interested in participating in the pilot training should contact the UN SSE initiative for more information.  After the pilot program, the UN SSE and IFC will roll out the training free of charge for markets globally, in collaboration with SSE Partner Exchanges. Stock exchanges will be invited to co-host the training and invite their market participants and key stakeholders to join and receive a CPD certification. Market participants that are interested in participating in this free training program should contact their local exchange to register their interest.  The full list of exchanges that are participating in the Ring the Bell for Gender equality initiative can be found here. About the Ring the Bell initiative The “Ring the Bell for Gender Equality” annual event series was first launched in 2015 by the UN SSE, UN Global Compact and UN Women, with just 7 participating exchanges. The group of global organizing partners was expanded in 2016 to involve collaborators from UN SSE, UN Global Compact, UN Women, IFC and the World Federation of Exchanges. By 2022, participation in this annual event included over 110 exchanges around the world. Beyond raising awareness for the role of women in business and finance, exchanges also support mobilizing finance for gender-equality-themed investment products, improving women’s access to financial markets and promoting greater levels of female participation in corporate board rooms. The SSE supports these efforts through an integrated programme of conducting evidence-based policy analysis, facilitating a network and forum for multi-stakeholder consensus-building, and providing technical guidelines, advisory services and training. To learn more about how the SSE supports exchanges to promote gender equality, visit our Gender Equality workstream page. About the Partner Organizations: International Finance Corporation (IFC): IFC—a member of the World Bank Group—is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. We work in more than 100 countries, using our capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities in developing countries. In fiscal year 2021, IFC committed a record $31.5 billion to private companies and financial institutions in developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity as economies grapple with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information, visit www.ifc.org. Follow us on Twitter: @IFC_org or any of our other social media platforms: www.ifc.org/SocialMediaIndex The Sustainable Stock Exchanges initiative The SSE initiative is a peer-to-peer learning platform for exploring how exchanges, in collaboration with investors, regulators, and companies, can enhance corporate transparency - and ultimately performance - on ESG (environmental, social, and corporate governance) issues and encourage sustainable investment. The SSE initiative is convened by four organizations - the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the UN Global Compact, the UN Environment Program Finance Initiative (UNEP FI), and the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI).  To learn more about becoming a Partner Stock Exchange or participating as a regulator or investor, visit sseinitiative.org Follow us on Twitter: @sseinitiative United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) UN Women is the UN organization dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women. A global champion for women and girls, UN Women was established to accelerate progress on meeting their needs worldwide. UN Women supports UN Member States as they set global standards for achieving gender equality and works with governments and civil society to design laws, policies, programmes and services needed to ensure that the standards are effectively implemented and truly benefit women and girls worldwide. It works globally to make the vision of the Sustainable Development Goals a reality for women and girls and stands behind women’s equal participation in all aspects of life. In collaboration with the UN Global Compact, UN Women engages the private sector through the Women’s Empowerment Principles – a global framework and engagement platform to advance gender equality and women’s empowerment in the workplace, marketplace, and community. In line with its Strategic Plan (2022-2025), UN Women focuses on four strategic priority areas: governance and participation in public life; women’s economic empowerment; ending violence against women and girls; and women, peace and security, humanitarian action and disaster risk reduction. UN Women also coordinates and promotes the UN system’s work in advancing gender equality. Learn more at: www.unwomen.org and www.weps.org Follow us on Twitter @UN_Women, @WEPrinciples and on LinkedIn: UN Women, WEPs United Nations Global Compact As a special initiative of the UN Secretary-General, the United Nations Global Compact is a call to companies everywhere to align their operations and strategies with Ten Principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment, and anti-corruption. Our ambition is to accelerate and scale the global collective impact of business by upholding the Ten Principles and delivering the Sustainable Development Goals through accountable companies and ecosystems that enable change. With more than 15,000 companies and 3,000 non-business signatories based in over 160 countries, and 69 Local Networks, the UN Global Compact is the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative — one Global Compact uniting business for a better world. For more information, follow @globalcompact on social media and visit our website at unglobalcompact.org. The World Federation of Exchanges (WFE): Established in 1961, the WFE is the global industry association for exchanges and clearing houses. Headquartered in London, it represents over 250 market infrastructure providers with 35% are in Asia-Pacific, 45% in EMEA and 20% in the Americas. WFE’s 57 member CCPs collectively ensure that risk takers post some $1 trillion (equivalent) of resources to back their positions, in the form of initial margin and default fund requirements. WFE exchanges are home to 47,919 listed companies, and the market capitalisation of these entities is over $109 trillion; around $137 trillion (EOB) in trading annually passes through WFE members (at end 2020). Its statistics database stretches back more than 40 years and provides information and insight into developments on global exchanges. The WFE works with standard-setters, policy makers, regulators, and government organisations around the world to support and promote the development of fair, transparent, stable, and efficient markets. Click here to view the WFE’s website, sign up for the industry’s Focus magazine or to visit the WFE on LinkedIn. Follow us on Twitter: @TheWFE 

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.