How Stock Exchanges Can Advance Gender Equality
Many stock exchanges worldwide have established gender equality policies and are helping to raise the bar on gender rights, according to a new report published by the Sustainable Stock Exchanges Initiative in partnership with the Emerging Market Sustainability Dialogues of GIZ.
Studies repeatedly find that addressing gender equality will unlock trillions of dollars of currently unrealised investment value.
“As stock exchanges have the capacity to impact and direct the flow of money within capital markets, they possess great potential to exert significant influence over a broad range of sustainability-related aspects, among them clearly gender equality”, explains Nina Roth, Senior Advisor Sustainable Finance, EMDF.
The report examines the contribution exchanges can specifically make towards achieving Sustainable Development Goal 5.5: Ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic, and public life.
“Gender equality is an issue that impacts everyone, from diversity in leadership, to family leave policies, to equal opportunities for education,“ said Fiona Reynolds, managing director of the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI). “Investors have an important role to play in closing the gender gap by engaging with not only companies, but also stock exchanges and policymakers.“
A number of recommendations to enhance the positive impact of stock exchanges on gender equality were developed. Among them:
- Transparency: Require reporting on gender metrics, i.e. related policies and objectives of companies listed
- Product offerings: Introduce gender equality standards into exchange-offered investment products
- Policies, training and education: Develop policies for topics such as female representation, pay parity, etc. in line with international best practice
- Advocacy and Partnerships: Encourage listed companies to implement the Women’s Empowerment Principles, a holistic framework to advance gender equality in the workplace, marketplace and community.
The report frames the state of gender equality globally and provides case studies across exchanges in 13 markets: Australia, Brazil, Egypt, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States. The report is in line with the global Ring the Bell for Gender Equality event series on 6-10 March, 2017.
Value for Women is a global advisory services firm with a mission to promote women’s participation and leadership in business, finance and investment around the globe, with a focus on emerging markets.