12 Stock Exchanges in the Arab States rang the bell for gender equality on International Women’s Day 2022
Accelerating women’s access to economic opportunities and promoting gender equality are critical to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 5 and 8, namely “achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls” and “promoting decent work and economic growth for all,” respectively.
This year, on the occasion of International Women’s Day 2022, 11 stock exchanges across countries in the Arab States region rang the bell for gender equality for the eighth year in a row, under the theme “gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow.” The bell-ringing ceremonies are hosted within the framework of a partnership between UN Women, UN Global Compact, the Sustainable Stock Exchanges Initiative, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), and the World Federation of Exchanges.
Aimed at raising awareness about the role of the private sector in advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment, Ring the Bell is aligned to the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs), a set of seven principles offering practical guidance to businesses on how to empower women in the workplace, marketplace and community. These are also considered an essential drive for the private sector to achieve gender equality and contribute to the 2030 agenda and the SDGs. This year, the event focused on promoting the adoption of the WEPs by the private sector.
The Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX) has also organized a Ring the Bell ceremony which was attended by Anita Bhatia - UN Women Deputy Executive Director, Saeed Hamad Al Dhaheri - CEO of Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange, Dr. Mouza Al Shehhi, Director of the UN Women Liaison Office in the UAE, in addition to several ADX employees.
At the Ring the Bell ceremony in Manama, Bahrain Bourse rang the bell in the presence of women in leadership and executive positions among various businesses, highlighting the level of impact women can have on the workplace, marketplace and community. Nargis Gamal, Chief Operating Officer of Bahrain Bourse and Head of the Gender Equality Committee said that “at Bahrain Bourse, we continue to support the integration of Bahraini women and provide them with the opportunity to ensure that they hold leadership positions and activate their roles as active members of the economy, as we believe that diversity and inclusion contribute to enhancing the working environment and making decision-making more inclusive.”
The Ring the Bell ceremony in Tunisia was organized on the sidelines of the symposium "The role of Arab women in achieving the SDGs: Current status and future prospects", which was organized by the Tunisian Professional Association of Banks and Financial Institutions and with the participation of the Union of Arab Banks and the International Finance Corporation (IFC). Attending the symposium, Ms. Susanne Mikhail, Regional Director of UN Women for the Arab States, highlighted that “UN Women is partnering with the IFC and standard setting bodies such as the International Capital Markets Association (ICMA), the Global Impact Investors Network (GIIN), and other market standard setters to develop gender frameworks and guidelines that facilitate the issuance of gender lens investments in the commercial, sovereign and sub- sovereign space. Leveraging off the WEPS, UN Women is supporting the alignment of key frameworks and metrics which seek to assess the qualitative and quantitative contributions towards gender equality.”
Concurrently, during the Ring the Bell ceremony in Oman, Haitham bin Salem Al Salmi, CEO of Muscat Stock Exchange, said that “the Muscat Stock Exchange celebrates with various stock exchanges and capital bodies worldwide international women's day under the theme "gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow", and this year's celebration comes as the first step in our initiatives on triple governance, diversity and inclusion.”
In Jordan, Mazen Wahaifi, CEO of the Amman Stock Exchange (ASE), said that “the ASE have been hosting the Ring the Bell since 2016 to enhance awareness and draw attention to the crucial role the private sector can play in advancing gender equality to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. The ASE taking part in this celebration along with other 112 stock exchanges and central counterparties (CCPs) around the world that will ‘ring the bell’ to mark International Women's Day, comes in light of the importance of the contribution and participation of women around the world, in leading the task of adapting, mitigating and responding to climate change, to build a more sustainable future for all.”
Boursa Kuwait organized a Ring the Bell ceremony with the participation of the General Secretariat of the Supreme Council for Planning and Development, UN Women Regional Office for the Arab States, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Kuwait, the National Bank of Kuwait and Zain, a telecommunications company. On her part, Noura Al-Abdulkareem, Head of Markets at Boursa Kuwait, stated “We ring the bell for women today in celebration of the key role they play in development, specifically in capital markets and in Boursa Kuwait. We remain committed to the training and development of our female workforce and look forward to providing equal opportunities for women throughout our company and the wider capital market.”
The Egyptian Stock Exchange (EGX) organized the Ring the Bell event in Cairo, in cooperation with the National Council for Women, UN Women Egypt, IFC, United Nations Global Compact Egypt, along with a number of development partners. The Minister of Trade and Industry in Egypt, Dr. Nevine El Gamei, inaugurated the ceremony, stressing on the government’s interest in women's economic empowerment to enhance their contribution to economic growth, increase exports, increase production rates and improve standards of living in Egypt. She also noted that the ministry is keen to implement a women’s empowerment strategy as one of the objectives of Egypt’s Vision for 2030, with the aim of supporting the role of women in comprehensive development plans.
In Palestine, Maher Masri, Chairperson of the Palestine Exchange (PEX), confirmed the importance of this initiative for PEX through contributing to achieving zero discrimination against women and enhancing women’s access to leadership positions like men. He also added that “through this difficult time, we are in need for increasing the opportunities for women’s participation in driving change towards a sustainable future.” “Striving to develop sustainable global strategies is the global utmost priority, which must be seriously focused on for a better tomorrow for us and for our children”, he continued.
Other Ring the Bell ceremonies that took place in the region were also organized by: Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX), the Dubai Financial Market, Dubai Gold and Commodities Exchange (DGCX), Bourse de Casablanca, and Qatar Stock Exchange.
For more information around Ring the Bell events organized in the Arab states:
UN Women Regional Office for the Arab States
- Diego De La Rosa
Regional Communications Specialist
- Nourhan ElNagdy
Regional Communications Associate
- Reem Akl
Regional WEE Communications Consultant