SSE and IFC launch latest gender equality annual benchmark and new training

17 October 2023

Abu Dhabi, 17 October 2023 — Promoting gender equality in corporate leadership took center stage at the World Investment Forum in Abu Dhabi this week. The United Nations Sustainable Stock Exchanges (UN SSE) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) launched their third annual Market Monitor on Gender Equality, ranking markets around the world on the gender balance of listed companies' corporate leadership. The high level CEO roundtable also saw the launch of a joint SSE-IFC training programme on gender equality to be delivered by SSE Partner Exchanges around the world. Titled "Gender Equality in Corporate Leadership" the session took place on 17 October as part of the UNCTAD World Investment Forum. Thought leaders, corporate executives, and advocates for gender equality from around the world gathered to discuss strategies to advance women's representation in leadership roles across the corporate landscape. The session began with a powerful keynote address delivered by Mr. Moez Doraid, Deputy Executive Director, UN Women, underscoring the strong connection between gender diversity in leadership and business performance. “Stock exchanges jointly list over 60,000 companies, which represent 90 trillion dollars of market capitalization, creating potential to leverage gender equality through training and through transparency and accountability”. - Moez Doraid, UN Women

UN SSE, IFC and UN Women launch market monitor and training program on gender equality at the 2023 UNCTAD World Investment Forum. From left to right: Morez Doraid, Deputy Executive Director, UN Women; Martine Valcin, Global Manager, IFC; Anthony Miller, Chief Coordinator, UN SSE

The event also saw the official launch of the G20 and Regional: Market Monitor on Gender Equality, now in its third consecutive year. The annual research serves as a benchmarking tool to assess the progress of markets around the world in achieving gender equality in corporate leadership. By tracking and comparing key metrics related to gender balance on corporate boards and in executive leadership the Market Monitor aims to drive transparency and inspire positive change. Another key output of the event was the launch of a new gender equality training program developed by the UN SSE, IFC and UN Women. The training will help exchanges provide assistance to their market participants to accelerate the achievement of gender equality. To ensure all market participants can benefit from the technical assistance, the training will be offered free of charge to the more than 130 SSE Partner Exchanges around the world.  Speakers stressed that gender equality in corporate leadership is not only a matter of justice and human rights but also a critical component of sustainable development. Some of the comments from speakers at the roundtable discussion included:   “Bursa Malaysia has begun to provide guidance on gender equality to board directors. What is not measured won’t progress. Therefore, we anticipate that our new benchmark (of 30% women on boards) will be a call to action across our market.” - Muhamad Umar Swift, CEO, Bursa Malaysia  “Equality for women isn’t about charity. Equality for women is about mission-critical bottom lines. Capitalizing upon the completeness of societies’ talents builds economies that are more innovative, more competitive, and more profitable for all.” - Rachel Askew-Sammut, Head of Corporate Equalities, Department for Business and International Trade, UK “Promoting gender equality in corporate leadership is our collective mission. Exchanges are pivotal in this endeavor, advocating for diverse boards, navigating through regulations, and crafting innovative financial products for SDG 5. Let us work together to make gender parity not just a goal, but a fundamental principle of our financial world.” - Konstantin Saroyan, Secretary General, Federation of Euro-Asian Stock Exchanges (FEAS) “I align with what one of Ghana’s renowned scholars, Dr. Kwegyir Aggrey once said ‘If you educate a man, you educate an individual, but if you educate a woman, you educate a nation.’ The S in ESG is very important and should be included in all events” - Abena Moah, CEO, Ghana Stock Exchange “Stock exchanges can, and have, made a difference in promoting gender equality in corporate leadership. Listing and disclosure requirements have proven effective in increasing the number of women on boards and executive positions in several markets.” - Martine Valcin, Global Manager, ESG Advisory, Knowledge and Learning, IFC “We will not achieve SDG 5, gender equality, unless we succeed in bridging the vast gender gap in business leadership. Doing so requires culture change at all levels of the economic ecosystem, and a rapid scale-up of proven approaches, including increasing the visibility of qualified women, capacity-building initiatives for women with leadership potential, and comprehensive market education. Through our joint work with the UN SSE, we are helping to amplify the impact and reach of these three approaches.” - Loty Salazar, Lead, IFC's Women on Boards & in Business Leadership Program; ESG Governance Officer, IFC “Gender equality is the cornerstone of a just and thriving society. KASE annually reaffirms its commitment to this principle through the tradition of holding an annual trading opening ceremony “Ring the Bell for Gender Equality” where existing issues are discussed. Kazakhstan is actively striving to elevate the role of women in society by imposing requirements for an increase of the women share in executive, representative and judicial authorities, state, quasi-state and corporate sectors at the decision-making level by 25% by 2023, 27% by 2027, 30% by 2030.” - Alina Aldambergen, Chair, Kazakhstan Stock Exchange (KASE) “Promoting gender parity and achieving gender equality cannot be done without unlocking key financing and setting a strong foundation through education. At LuxSE, we have made it our mission to use our unique vantage point to highlight these important securities and educate both issuers and investors in the global benefits of advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment. We are pleased to work with the UN SSE to also support their education program and to work together on building skills and knowledge in markets on gender equality." - Laetita Hamon, Head of Sustainable Finance, Luxembourg Stock Exchange “In the pursuit of gender equality, stock exchanges play a pivotal role. Through market education, innovative financial products, and evolving standards, we can create lasting change in corporate leadership.” - Wendy Boit, ESG Lead, Nairobi Securities Exchange For more information about the United Nations Sustainable Stock Exchanges Initiative and its work to promote gender equality in corporate leadership, please visit

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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.