The FINANCIAL — IFC, a member of World Bank Group, and the Mongolian Stock Exchange (MSE) are joining around 60 countries from across the world in a global initiative, “Ring the Bell for Gender Equality,” to celebrate International Women’s Day 2018.
The annual event aims to highlight how the private sector can spur women’s participation in the global economy and promote sustainable development.
“We must drive economic development through gender equality,” said Stephanie von Friedeburg, IFC Chief Operating Officer. “With over $18 trillion in purchasing power, women have the power to transform the global economy.”
This is the second year that MSE is participating in the event. “We are honored to be part of a global event on gender equality,” said Dul-Erdene Ninj, CFO of the Mongolian Stock Exchange, who did the bell-ringing honors. “The MSE is committed to promoting diversity on the boards and management of listed companies.”
More than 30 female entrepreneurs and civil society representatives attended the ceremony, which was jointly organized by the Mongolian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Corporate Governance Development Center, and the WomenCorporateDirectors Mongolia Chapter, according to the World Bank.
Studies show that female talent is among the least utilized economic and business resources around the world. Making even small inroads in closing the global gender gap could quickly yield strong results, with the potential to increase global gross domestic product by $5.3 trillion over the next seven years, according to a 2017 report from the World Economic Forum. For listed companies, failure to capitalize on these resources—for example, by adding more women to their boards and ranks of senior leadership—represents a substantial opportunity cost.
Although women in Mongolia, according to a survey by the Corporate Governance Development Center, hold a higher share of board seats among listed companies and state-owned enterprises—compared to the global average of 15 percent—men still hold around two thirds of board seats. In addition, women in Mongolia consistently earn less than men, a recent World Bank study revealed.
“Gender disparities in Mongolia are relatively low compared to the rest of the world,” said Tuyen D. Nguyen, IFC Resident Representative for Mongolia. “However, closing gender gaps in business—from CEOs and board directors to workers—can help empower women to achieve their full potential. This will, subsequently, have a multiplier effect on families, businesses, and nations, which is essential to sustainable development. Mongolia could play a leading role in achieving gender equality.”
This year’s Ring the Bell events include over 60 stock exchanges. Participating organizations are encouraged to take a public stand to signal their commitment to gender equality, such as signing onto the Women’s Empowerment Principles, guidelines on empowering women in the workplace, marketplace and community.
Participating exchanges also are encouraged to prioritize diversity in their own corporate structures—by implementing gender-friendly workplace policies; developing female-oriented investment products; reporting to shareholders on diversity objectives, policies, and practices; and increasing the number of women holding board and senior leadership positions.
The “Ring the Bell for Gender Equality” event is a partnership of IFC, Sustainable Stock Exchanges (SSE) Initiative, the UN Global Compact, UN Women, Women in ETFs, and the World Federation of Stock Exchanges.