The International Finance Corporation (IFC), which is a member of the World Bank Group and the United Nations Sustainable Stock Exchanges Initiative (SSE), has published a guidance report, which instructed to implement gender-responsive actions like 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, titled ‘How Exchanges Can Advance Gender Equality: Updated Guidance and Best Practice,’ 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.
It also positions exchanges as key market influencers. Globally, stock exchanges list over 50,000 companies with a market capitalization of over $90 trillion.
Moreover, the report offers instructions on implementing gender-responsive action plans like 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.
It is noteworthy that the report showcases best practice examples of exchanges that are leading by embedding gender diversity, equity, and inclusion into their own workplace cultures.
Vice President Cross-Cutting Solutions IFC, Emmanuel Nyirinkindi, said, “Our collaboration with SSE provides a significant platform to reach thousands of companies in encouraging increased female leadership in boardrooms and in senior management,”
He continued, “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.”
The IFC has long been engaged in efforts at the capital markets level to support women as economic actors. This 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, as compared to less than 10 exchanges in 2015.
Managing Director Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX), Farrukh H. Khan, remarked, “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.”
“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,” he said.