The State Of Gender Equality In G20 Markets

8 March 2021

The UN Sustainable Stock Exchanges initiative in partnership with the IFC launches today a new ranking of the stock exchanges of the G20 by the gender balance of their issuers boards. The research analyses the gender equality on the boards of the top 100 issuers by market capitalisation on 22 major G20 stock exchanges. It also includes an overview of the number of female chairs and CEOs that lead these companies. Key findings include: Women hold 20% of Board seats in G20 markets; ➡Women hold 5.5% of Chair and 3.5% of CEO positions in G20 markets ➡6 out of 22 markets have rules requiring a mandatory minimum number of women on corporate boards

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  Stock Exchange specific data: ➡Euronext Paris (France) has highest percentage (44.3%) of women on boards of all G20 markets; ➡Johannesburg Stock Exchange (South Africa) has the best gender balance on boards (28.5%) of any developing country in the G20; ➡Shenzhen Stock Exchange (China) has the most female CEOs (11 out of the top 100 companies) of any G20 market; ➡Australian Stock Exchange (Australia) has the most female Chair-persons (14 out of top 100 companies).  

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James Zhan (Chair, United Nations Sustainable Stock Exchanges and Director, Investment and Enterprise UNCTAD) said: “Achieving gender equality is integral to sustainable and inclusive development. We are very happy to see over 100 exchanges take part in this year’s Ring the Bell for Gender equality events. We are also encouraged by the fact that 25 exchanges, up from 10 in 2019, are now signatories to the UN’s Women’s Empowerment Principles. However, as our new research lays out, with women holding only 20% of board seats across listed companies in the G20, we still have a long way to go before we achieve SDG 5 on gender equality. We look forward to working with exchanges and our development partners to help achieve this goal.” In South Africa, the Johannesburg Stock Exchange Group CEO, Leila Fourie said, “We are honoured to be recognised in the Sustainable Stock Exchanges report on gender equality. The JSE remains committed to promoting gender equality at all levels of the organisation. It is important to acknowledge, however, that while this is a step in the right direction, significant work remains to be done in the global quest for gender equality. Leadership teams set an important benchmark for any organisation and thus have an opportunity and a responsibility to drive transformation. The SSE report also highlights the high quality of female leadership across the world. In particular, South Africa is home to a number of highly regarded female leaders who actively support gender equality and represent our country at a very senior level." To see the full ranking of the G20 stock exchanges, please download the free UN SSE Policy Brief click here. This new research provides exchanges with a practical benchmark on the state of gender equality in the top positions in companies listed on their markets. This benchmark can assist exchanges and other key stakeholders in measuring their progress over time in promoting gender equality.   With the adoption of the 17 SDGs of the United Nations 2030 Agenda, UN member States came together to agree that gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls is a critical part of the global agenda. Achieving the SDGs will require the support of all organs of society. The private sector has an important role to play in promoting gender equality in the workplace. Stock exchanges are uniquely positioned to influence their market. To learn more about the SSE’s guidance to stock exchanges on gender equality, see the publication How stock exchanges can advance gender equality.        

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About our Partner:

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 2020, we invested $22 billion in private companies and financial institutions in developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit

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.