UN SSE, IFC, UN Women launch training on gender equality

29 March 2023

(22 March 2023) The United Nations SSE initiative and IFC, in strategic collaboration with UN Women, announced a new joint training program that will provide capital market participants with capacity-building resources on gender equality. Stock exchanges have been engaging on the topic of gender equality through various mechanisms, including by participating in the annual ‘Ring the Bell for Gender Equality’ events which put a spotlight on the importance of gender equality in markets globally on International Women’s Day (March 8). To support exchanges in their efforts to educate markets on gender equality, UN SSE, IFC and UN Women, working with SSE Partner Exchanges, will be rolling out a global training program on investing in and enhancing performance on gender equality. The joint training program on gender equality is being developed with 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 and UN Women. 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 exchange to register their interest.  Exchanges raising awareness on gender equality For the ninth consecutive year, markets in 95 countries rang opening or closing bells to celebrate International Women’s Day 2023, with a record of over 116 exchanges around the world participating in the annual “Ring the Bell for Gender Equality” event. The Ring the Bell for Gender Equality 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 UN SSE, IFC,UN Global Compact, UN Women and The World Federation of Exchanges and regularly involves exchanges from around the world. Exchanges taking more action on gender equality 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; and
  • Educating markets on the role and opportunities for the private sector to advance gender equality and sustainable development.
  • 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 summarizes the main areas where exchanges can contribute to greater gender equality, covering both outward (market focused) and inward (exchange focused) opportunities. The newly launched training initiative will help exchanges in both areas by training exchange employees as well as market participants on the financial materiality of gender equality strategies and the responsibilities of listed corporations on this topic.  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.  
    Nasdaq screened an announcement of the partnership between SSE, IFC, UN Women and stock exchanges to educate global markets on gender equality in Times Square. The SSE is grateful to Professor Melinda Posey and her students at CBU for their work in developing this video: Nahir Cavaleri, Cierrah Ferguson, and Gonzalo Naranjo.

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.