(New York, 9 March 2015) – Stock exchanges from around the world joined UN Women, UN Global Compact and the Sustainable Stock Exchanges (SSE) Initiative to ring their opening or closing bells in support of gender equality and to highlight the pivotal role of the private sector in empowering women in the workplace, marketplace and community.
In celebration of the 20th anniversary of the World Conference on Women in Beijing and International Women’s Day, the Bombay Stock Exchange; Borsa Istanbul; Egyptian Exchange; NASDAQ; Nigerian Stock Exchange; OMX Stockholm (part of NASDAQ group); and Warsaw Stock Exchange; came together in a global effort to raise awareness about the importance of gender equality to business and recognize how the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs) – a joint initiative of UN Women and UN Global Compact – can support action on advancing gender equality. In addition to the aforementioned exchanges and organizations, each event was organized locally with the support of UN Women Country Offices and Global Compact Local Networks.
The series of global events culminated on 9 March with a bell ringing at NASDAQ in New York, bringing together WEPs stakeholders in advance of their annual meeting. Cathy Engelbert, CEO-elect of Deloitte LLP rang the opening bell, remarking, “It is an honor and privilege to ring the opening bell at NASDAQ for International Women’s Day. Not only did Deloitte contribute to the development of the seven Women’s Empowerment Principles, we’ve integrated them into our business as part of our commitment to promote gender equality worldwide.” UN Women Deputy Director Lakshmi Puri, UN Global Compact Executive Director Georg Kell, and Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) Managing Director Fiona Reynolds were also on hand to help mark the occasion along with dozens of business leaders, investors, and Government and UN representatives.
“From Bombay to New York, bells are ringing for gender equality,” said Georg Kell, Executive Director, UN Global Compact. “As an organizer of both the WEPs and the SSE initiative, the UN Global Compact is encouraged to see exchanges, companies, investors, Governments and the UN coming together to take on this critical issue of gender equality. If we are to ensure women's full and effective participation, and equal opportunity at all levels of political, economic and public life, we need the full commitment and collaboration of all stakeholders.”
Fiona Reynolds, Managing Director of PRI noted: “Gender equality is an issue that impacts everyone, from diversity in board rooms to equal opportunities for education. We have come far, but we have so much further to go,” she said. “PRI welcomes the leadership taken by the exchanges, business representatives and UN officials who brought together these global bell ringing events and calls on all capital market actors to take their own steps toward gender equality".
On 10-11 March, WEPs stakeholders will build on this global momentum by bringing together leaders from business, Government, the UN and civil society for the 2015 WEPs Event, Unlimited Potential: Business Partners for Gender Equality. Participants will reflect on the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action – the 1995 comprehensive global framework for women’s empowerment – and chart a path toward a sustainable, equitable and inclusive future. This year’s meeting is being held for the first time as an official side event of the 59th Commission on the Status of Women.
About the Women’s Empowerment Principles
The Women's Empowerment Principles – Equality Means Business is a joint initiative of UN Women and the UN Global Compact. The Principles outline seven steps for business on how to empower women in the workplace, marketplace and community. The Principles highlight that empowering women to participate fully in economic life across all sectors and throughout all levels of economic activity is essential to build strong economies; establish more stable and just societies; achieve internationally agreed goals for development, sustainability, and human rights; improve quality of life for women, men, families and communities; and propel business' operations and goals. Learn more at www.weprinciples.org.
About the Sustainable Stock Exchanges (SSE) initiative
The Sustainable Stock Exchanges (SSE) initiative is a peer-to-peer learning platform for exploring how exchanges, in collaboration with investors, regulators, and companies, can enhance corporate transparency – and ultimately performance – on ESG (environmental, social and corporate governance) issues and encourage sustainable investment. The SSE initiative is co-convened by four organisations – the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI), United Nations Global Compact and UN-supported Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI). The SSE initiative invites exchanges globally to become a Partner Stock Exchange within the SSE by making a voluntary public commitment to promote improved ESG transparency and performance among listed companies. Currently, the SSE welcomes 18 exchanges globally as Partner Exchanges. In addition, the SSE welcomes participation from securities regulators, investors, companies and other key stakeholders to engage with the initiative. To learn more, visit http://www.sseinitiative.org
About UN Women
UN Women is the UN organization dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women. A global champion for women and girls, UN Women was established to accelerate progress on meeting their needs worldwide. UN Women supports UN Member States as they set global standards for achieving gender equality, and works with governments and civil society to design laws, policies, programmes and services needed to implement these standards. It stands behind women’s equal participation in all aspects of life, focusing on five priority areas: increasing women’s leadership and participation; ending violence against women; engaging women in all aspects of peace and security processes; enhancing women’s economic empowerment; and making gender equality central to national development planning and budgeting. UN Women also coordinates and promotes the UN system’s work in advancing gender equality. http://www.unwomen.org
UN Global Compact
Sustainable Stock Exchange Initiative (SSE)