More than 80 stock exchanges ring the bell for gender equality

(March 2019) To mark International Women’s Day on 8 March, more than 80 stock exchanges are participating in the international ‘Ring the Bell’ campaign to raise awareness about the business case for women’s economic empowerment and to highlight opportunities for business and financial markets to advance gender equality and sustainable development.

The UN Women’s theme for International Women’s Day 2019 is ‘Think equal, build smart, innovate for change’. The theme focuses on innovative ways in which the private sector can advance gender equality and women’s empowerment, particularly in the areas of social protection systems, access to public services, and sustainable infrastructure.

In addition to, the bell ringing events, the bell ringing partner Organizations applaud the work done to date, and encourage stock exchanges to take further action to improve gender equality in their markets.

“It’s time to get really serious about women’s empowerment. Discrimination is holding the world back economically and socially,” said Lise Kingo, CEO & Executive Director of the UN Global Compact. “We are ringing the bell for gender equality because we need everyone, including stock exchanges and companies everywhere, to take concrete actions in order to empower women in business.”

Recognizing the multiplier effect of investing in women and girls, Fiona Reynolds, CEO of Principles for Responsible Investment, said “A global transition towards a low-carbon and sustainable economy presents several opportunities for achieving gender equality in the world of work that is critical for realizing the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement. Failing to recognize the gender dimension can add to growing inequality that we already see across the globe.”

Stock exchanges around the world have worked alongside investors and businesses, taking practical action to advance gender equality through listing requirements, voluntary guidance documents, investment products, internal policies and training and awareness raising.

The UN Global Compact and UN Women have also developed the Women’s Empowerment Principles to help companies advance gender equality in the workplace, marketplace and community. So far, more than 2,100 CEOs have signed up.

Currently in its fifth year, the Ring the Bell initiative is a collaboration between the UN Global Compact, UN Women, Sustainable Stock Exchanges initiative, Women in ETFs, World Federation of Exchanges and the International Finance Corporation to raise awareness about the opportunities for the private sector to advance gender equality and sustainable development.

About the UN Sustainable Stock Exchanges Initiative

UN Sustainable Stock Exchanges (SSE) Initiative, launched in 2009 by the UN Secretary General, is a UN Partnership Programme of 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). The SSE convenes stock exchanges who join by signing a voluntary public commitment and it currently has 78 Partner Exchanges worldwide. It provides Model Guidance on ESG disclosure for stock exchanges to help with the preparation of ESG reporting guidelines. The SSE has three inter-related pillars of activity: research, consensus building and technical assistance.

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