For the fourth year, a global collaboration of stock exchanges around the world committed to “Ring the Bell for Gender Equality,” to celebrate International Women’s Day (8 March 2018). 

PRI board members ring the bell for gender equality

This year 63 stock exchanges are participating, up from 43 in 2017. The events are a partnership between IFC, Sustainable Stock Exchanges (SSE) Initiative, UN Global Compact, UN Women, the World Federation of Exchanges and Women in ETFs, to raise awareness about the business case for women’s economic empowerment and the opportunities for the private sector to advance gender equality and sustainable development.

The UN theme for International Women’s Day this year is, “Time is now: rural and urban activists transforming women’s lives,” focusing on empowering women in all settings, rural and urban, and to celebrate the activists who are working relentlessly to claim women’s rights and realise their full potential.

As part of the events, participants are encouraged to make commitments to improve gender equality in their markets, such as signing the Women’s Empowerment Principles, improving diversity in senior management and on the boards of directors, developing more gender-friendly policies, developing a gender-themed investment product, or improving transparency on gender policies and practices.

“Research continues to show that female representation in leadership improves performance metrics such as ROA, ROE, and EPS while reducing volatility.” Fiona Reynolds, Managing Director of the PRI noted at the London Stock Exchange Bell Ringing.

“Yet, as of 2017 there are only 32 female CEOs on the Fortune 500 list; and this is the highest proportion of female CEOs in the 63-year history of the Fortune 500.”

While speaking at Nasdaq Lise Kingo, CEO and Executive Director of the UN Global Compact, called on companies to sign onto the Women’s Empowerment Principles: “The WEPs help companies advance gender equality and empower women in the workplace, market place and community. We have also created the WEPs Gap Analysis Tool to further assist businesses looking to improve their gender practices”.