Ringing the Stock Exchange Bell For Gender Equality

Stock Exchanges Advancing Gender Equality

The key to the success and growth of a country is its human capital. The skills and productivity of its workforce. Therefore a country cannot be competitive and a company cannot be successful if it does not develop and appropriately use half of the world’s available talent pool – women!

So to celebrate International Women’s Day (8 March 2018), 63 stock exchanges around the world hosted a bell ringing ceremony. The goal was to raise awareness of the pivotal role the private sector can play in advancing the UN’s SDG5 on gender equality and women’s empowerment.

Ring The Bell For Gender Equality

Ring the Bell for Gender Equality is a partnership of UN Women, UN Global Compact, Sustainable Stock Exchanges Initiative, International Finance Corporation, Women in ETFs, and World Federation of Exchanges.

Photo Credit: Ryan Brown/UN Women

The series of 63 events kicked off in New York on March 7th at Nasdaq in collaboration with UN Women. I was thrilled to be invited to the event to represent Sayfty. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka (Executive Director of UN Women), joined Adena Friedman (President, and CEO of Nasdaq) to ring the Nasdaq Closing Bell.

The goal of the New York, Nasdaq event was to bring together businesses aspiring to gender equality. The 63 stock exchange events promoted public-private partnerships to accelerate progress in the implementation of the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs). Launched in 2010 by UN Women and the UN Global Compact (UNGC), WEPs are a set of seven Principles. They offer practical guidance to businesses on how to empower women in the workplace, marketplace, and community. According to the UN Women, globally, over 1,800 business leaders have signed onto the WEPs.

Achieving Gender Equality in the Private Sector

The recent World Economic Forum Report confirms a correlation between gender equality and GDP per capita. There is mounting evidence, which shows that empowering women means a more efficient use of a nation’s human capital endowment. Therefore reducing gender inequality enhances productivity and economic growth. Therefore, having more women in the workforce contributes to economic performance in several ways. ActionAid calculated that women could increase their income globally by up to 76% if the employment participation gap and the wage gap between women and men were closed. This is calculated to have a global value of $17 trillion.

Gender Equality is in the interest of countries, companies, men and all women. It’s not a win-lose situation. It’s a win-win for all of us. So here are some ways the private sector companies can achieve gender equality at work:

  1. Hiring managers can bring a change in how they hire and retain employees, therefore, achieve a 50-50 ratio at the workplace
  2. Mentor and sponsor high-potential women so that they can thrive
  3. Sensitize managers so that they can avoid unconscious bias
  4. Have a zero tolerance policy for sexual harassment at the workplace so that women feel safer at work
  5. Have work-life balance policies so that women are not at a disadvantage

Jack Ma at a UN Women event shared that the secret sauce to his company, Alibaba’s success is that 48% of the employees are women. Furthermore, by hiring and working with women, his company is getting healthier, happier and more sustainable. So if a technology firm like Alibaba can strive to achieve gender equality through its hiring, why can’t others?


In conclusion, for a small organization like Sayfty, it was a thrilling experience to be in the room for the closing bell. Supriya Jha, The Global Head of Diversity and Inclusion Nasdaq said, “When we see organizations like Sayfty, we pay special attention and try to include them at such events.” Most of all, we thank UN Women & Nasdaq for joining hands to influence the private sector to advance gender equality and women’s empowerment.

About The Author

Dr. Shruti Kapoor is a gender quality activist and the founder of Sayfty. Read more about her here.