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New Report from IFC, UN SSE: Capital Markets Can Advance Women’s Equality

Washington, MAR 7: IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and the United Nations Sustainable Stock Exchanges Initiative (SSE), published a guidance report highlighting the catalytic role stock exchanges have in advancing gender equality and driving inclusive economic growth.

The guidance is a comprehensive update of the 2017 report that now includes extensive actionable items that are market and exchange-focused, and several concrete examples of what exchanges are already doing to advance gender equality.

The report, “How Exchanges Can Advance Gender Equality: Updated Guidance and Best Practice” positions exchanges as key market influencers: globally, exchanges list over 50,000 companies with a market capitalization of over $90 trillion. The report offers guidance on implementing gender-responsive action plans, such as supporting the listing of gender-focused financial instruments, addressing barriers to gender equality on boards and senior management, promoting increased transparency on gender performance through expanded environmental, social, and governance (ESG) disclosure, and setting gender targets for listed companies. The report also showcases best practice examples of exchanges that are leading by embedding gender diversity, equity, and inclusion into their own workplace culture.

“Our collaboration with SSE provides a significant platform to reach thousands of companies in encouraging increased female leadership in boardrooms and in senior management,” said Emmanuel Nyirinkindi, Vice President, Cross-Cutting Solutions, IFC. “We know that a higher proportion of women in business leadership not only makes sense for the bottom line, but also is linked to better ESG outcomes. The guidance launched today exemplifies the importance of sharing best practices to advance gender equality, spur job creation, and address urgent development challenges.”

IFC has long been engaged in efforts at the capital markets level to support women as economic actors. This work includes women in leadership capacity building, support to regulators on integrating gender indicators into corporate governance codes, and co-sponsoring annual Ring the Bell for Gender Equality activities in conjunction with International Women’s Day. This year, a record 120 exchanges are participating in these events worldwide, from less than 10 exchanges in 2015.

“This year, as we mark International Women’s Day at PSX and across the world, we remain committed to further the cause of gender equality, diversity, and inclusion in both our social and corporate structures,” said Farrukh H. Khan, Managing Director of Pakistan Stock Exchange. “Pakistan Stock Exchange promotes the inclusion of women in its workforce and we currently have women comprising more than 16 percent of our employees. We also promote gender diversity in our listed companies through our PSX Top 25 Companies Awards, where the criteria for winners now include reporting on all the sustainable development goals, including gender equality.”

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