Arab Countries ‘Ring the Bell’ for Gender Equality

Date: Friday, March 8, 2019

Ring the Bell ceremony 2019 in Cairo. Photo: Courtesy of the Egyptian Stock Exchange.

Nine stock exchanges across the Arab States region joined the global call to “Ring the Bell for Gender Equality”, to celebrate International Women’s Day 2019 (Friday, 8 March).

This year’s theme for International Women’s Day ‘Think equal, build smart, innovate for change’ served as a background to reflect on the many innovative ways in which the private sector can advance gender equality and women’s empowerment, particularly in the areas of social protection systems, access to public services, and sustainable infrastructure.

“When more women work, economies grow. Empowering women in the economy and closing gender gaps in the world of work boosts productivity, increases economic diversification and income equality and is key to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly Goal 5, to achieve gender equality,” said Mohammad Naciri, UN Women Regional Director for the Arab States. “This year above 80 countries around the world joined UN Women and its partners to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment through private sector engagement. More stakeholders acknowledge the importance of women and men enjoying the same rights and opportunities in the socio-economic and political fields. We are pleased that this positive trend is also witnessed in the Arab States region.”

The “Gender Bell” rang in the following countries:

March 4 - Egypt

UN Women Egypt, the National Council for Women, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Global Compact Local Network in Egypt, in partnership with the Egyptian Stock Exchange a member of the Sustainable Stock Exchange Initiative (SSEI), hosted a Ring the Bell ceremony in Cairo. The event started with a panel discussion on the “Role of Women in Advancing the Egyptian Economy”, which examined how businesses can act to adopt and advance the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Women’s Empowerment Principals (WEPs).

March 7

Kuwait

Boursa Kuwait marked International Women's Day 2019 by hosting a bell-ringing ceremony to raise awareness on the critical role businesses and markets around the world can play to advance SDG5 on gender equality and women’s empowerment. The event was conducted in partnership with the General Secretariat of the Supreme Council for Planning and Development (GSSCPD), the Kuwait University Women’s Research and Studies Center (WRSC), UN Women Regional Office for the Arab States and UNDP Kuwait.

Lebanon

In Lebanon, the Beirut Stock Exchange joined UN Women, the United Nations Global Compact Network Lebanon, the IFC and the Canadian Embassy in hosting the Ring the Bell for Gender Equality ceremony under the patronage of HE Prime Minister Saad Hariri to raise awareness on the pivotal role of the private sector to advance gender equality and to achieve SDG5. During the ceremony, the Beirut Stock Exchange and a number of private companies committed to work for the achievement of gender equality and women’s empowerment and signed the WEPs CEO Statement of Support.

March 8 – Tunisia

The Tunis Stock Exchange (Bourse de Tunis) and UN Women is hosting a Ring the Bell for Gender Equality event on International Women’s Day. The ceremony was preceded by a panel discussion on the importance of promoting women’s economic empowerment to achieve sustainable development.

March 11 - Palestine

The Palestine Capital Market Authority and the Palestine Exchange, in partnership with UN Women and the IFC, will host the Ring the Bell for Gender Equality ceremony for the first time in the State of Palestine to bring attention to the crucial support of private sector to advance women’s economic empowerment.

Ring the Bell ceremonies were also hosted in Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. See the full list of global “Ring the Bell” events.

The presentations and discussions held during a number of events convened in the region highlighted the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs). This joint Initiative of UN Women and the UN Global Compact provides concrete guidelines for businesses to empower women in the workplace, marketplace and community.

Stock exchanges participating in Ring the Bell ceremonies were encouraged to take further action to improve gender equality in their markets. Such actions include signing the CEO Statement of Support for the WEPs; promoting gender equality in their workforce; introducing gender equality standards and supporting gender-equality themed investment products; providing guidance, training, mentoring, and education to market participants on gender equality and the role of gender diversity in business performance; and encouraging or requiring listed companies to publicly report on relevant gender metrics.

For more information, please contact:

Diego De La Rosa

Communication Specialist

UN Women Regional Office for the Arab States

Diego.delarosa@unwomen.org