UN SSE joins with Latinex to ‘Ring the Bell for Gender Equality’

9 March 2023

The UN SSE initiative presented its recent report on gender equality on the corporate boards in Latin America as part of the Panamanian exchange Latinex’ annual event to celebrate International Women's Day (IWD). As part of the global event ‘Ring the Bell for Gender Equality’, Latinex is holding its 6th annual bell ringing ceremony on IWD to raise awareness for gender equality.  “This year, we have extended our research on gender equality on corporate boards to Latin America and found that the Panamanian market is taking a leadership position. Latinex tops the list with the highest percentage of positions held by women on corporate boards, and the highest percentage of boards chaired by women. Congratulations to the exchange for the excellent result,” said Ms. Tiffany Grabski, Head of the SSE Academy, during her presentation.  The SSE Market Monitor, produced in collaboration with IFC, UN Women and FIAB, is a first of its kind analysis on the issue of boardroom gender balance in nine of the main markets in Latin America, including: The main findings of this report, which were discussed in the event, are: 
  • A deficit in publicly available data on the leadership of publicly traded companies in Latin America highlights the critical role that stock markets play in improving and promoting the disclosure and transparency practices of their issuers.
  • On average, women represent less than 14% of the governing bodies of publicly traded companies in Latin America.
  • Of the 727 corporate boards analyzed, 452 (62%) have at least one female member.
  • The Panamanian stock exchange, Latinex, leads the list with the highest percentage of positions held by women on boards (20%) and the highest percentage of boards chaired by women (9%).
  • Of the companies listed on the stock market in the nine Latin American countries analyzed, 4% of the positions of CEO are held by women.
  • Companies listed on the El Salvador Stock Exchange have the highest percentage of female CEOs in the region (11%).
  • Currently, more than 20% of the companies listed on the Latin American stock markets analyzed have corporate boards made up solely of men. The percentage of boards formed exclusively by men ranges from 23% to 52%.

Tiffany Grabski, SSE Academy Head, discussing the role that stock exchanges can play in enhancing gender equality at the Latinex ‘Ring the Bell for Gender Equality’ event

Ms. Grabski also noted that more work was needed. “We are seeing a growing interest from investors for more information from companies on this topic. The reason for this is that studies are finding that gender-equal businesses are more successful and more sustainable businesses,” Ms. Grabski added. “It is not that women or men are necessarily better leaders. But rather that diversity ensures that different perspectives are brought to the table. This increases innovation, helps attract different types of talent and helps identify risks that a homogeneous board is more likely to miss.” The SSE’s guide “How exchanges can advance gender equality” outlines a series of actions that stock exchanges are taking to advance gender equality in their markets. Ms. Grabski highlighted the key role that exchanges can play in education, training and capacity building to help their markets overcome barriers and to make use of gender-lens investment tools. 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.  More information on how stock exchanges are engaging their markets on gender equality can be found here

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.