JSE joins 43 stock exchanges to ring the bell for gender equality on International Women’s Day

Johannesburg, 08 March 2017: Today the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) played its part in the global movement of “Ringing the bell for gender equality” which marks International Women’s Day and raises awareness of the vital role that organisations need to play in advancing gender equality.   

The Ring the Bell for Gender Equality event at the JSE is part of a collaboration between the United Nation Global Compact South Africa Network, the Sustainable Stock Exchanges Initiative (SSE), the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (known as UN Women), the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the World Federation of Exchanges (WFE) and Women in Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs). 

The market open was hosted by JSE CEO Nicky Newton-King, and WIPHOLD founder and WIP CAPITAL CEO Gloria Serobe, who delivered the keynote address. Serobe established the Women's Investment Portfolio Holdings Limited (WIPHOLD), an investment and operating company owned and managed entirely by black women, almost 25 years ago. 

The event kicked off with the JSE’s signature, uniquely South African market open celebration and was followed by a gender equality panel discussion where panelists shared their insights on the importance of gender inclusion in the workplace, based on their experience in developing, driving and implementing strategies that actively promote gender equality. 

Bonang Mohale, Vice President Upstream and Chairman of Shell Downstream South Africa opened up the panel discussion and looked at topics such as: whether numerous organisations have a transformation, or even a gender equality policy and the possible deterrents in the private sector in implementing these policies.

Zeona Jacobs, Marketing and Corporate Affairs Director says, “At the JSE, we believe that having women at all levels should become the norm and that organisations should create the right platforms to provide female employees the same opportunity to grow in organisations as their male counterparts, and a conducive environment for them to prosper.”

Jacobs pointed out that South Africa is ranked fifteen out of 144 countries in terms of gender equality, according to the 2016 Global Gender Gap Report produced by the World Economic Forum. 

The JSE remains committed to diversity in the workplace and being a part of this global initiative creates the opportunity for the JSE to have robust debate on some of the challenges and strides made in gender equality. At the JSE, 42% of its board members are female, 54% of its executives are female and 51% of the employees are women. In addition, the JSE’s chairman, Nonkululeko Nyembezi-Heita is female.   

As part of its contribution to the female agenda, in 2015 the JSE introduced listing requirements requiring listed companies to have a policy for the promotion of gender diversity at board level and disclose their performance against it. The requirements were effective from January 2017 and the JSE looks forward to being able to report on the progress that our listed companies make in this regard.

Jacobs concludes, “The JSE supports the transformation of the SA economy to better reflect the society in which it operates. We are proud to offer a world-class platform where global and local investors can participate to enhance the prospects of growth in our economy.”

From left to right: Liesl Bebb-McKay: Head of Innovation & Disruption for Rand Merchant Bank (RMB) Global Markets and leader at The Foundery, and Innovation Hub, Commissioner Thoko Mpumlwana: Acting Chairperson of the Commission for Gender Equality, Joanne Yawitch: Chief Executive Officer of NBI, Bonang Mohale: Vice President Upstream and Chairman of Shell Downstream South Africa, Gloria Serobe: WIPHOLD Founder and WIP Capital CEO, Nozipho January-Bardill: Chairperson of UN Global Compact Network SA, Dolly Mokgatle: Executive Director of Peotona Group, Noleen Pauls: Independent consultant and former Chairperson of Women in Mining. 

From left to right: Liesl Bebb-McKay Head of Innovation & Disruption for Rand Merchant Bank (RMB) Global Markets and leader at The Foundery, an innovation hub, Gloria Serobe: WIPHOLD Founder and WIP Capital CEO, Nicky Newton-King: CEO of the JSE.

From left to right: Nicky Newton-King: CEO of the JSE, Gloria Serobe: WIPHOLD Founder and WIP Capital CEO.
The Johannesburg Stock Exchange is based in South Africa where it has operated as a market place for the trading of financial products for 130 years. It connects buyers and sellers in equity, derivative and debt markets. The JSE is one of the top 20 exchanges in the world in terms of market capitalisation and is a member of the World Federation of Exchanges (WFE). The JSE offers a fully electronic, efficient, secure market with world class regulation, trading and clearing systems, settlement assurance and risk management.

Issued by:
H+K Strategies South Africa 
Thabiso Senatla
Tel: +27 11 463 2198 

JSE contact: 
Pheliswa Mayekiso 
Media and Internal Communications Manager
Tel: +27 11 520 7495

About the Partner Organisations

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. Working with more than 2 000 businesses worldwide, we use our capital, expertise and influence to create opportunity where it's needed most. In FY16, our long-term investments in developing countries rose to nearly $19 billion, leveraging our capital, expertise and influence to help the private sector play an essential role in the global effort to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.

The Sustainable Stock Exchanges Initiative
The SSE is a peer-to-peer learning platform for exploring how exchanges - in collaboration with investors, regulators and companies - can encourage sustainable investment and enhance corporate transparency, and ultimately performance, on ESG (environmental, social and corporate governance) issues. The SSE is convened by the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the UN Global Compact, the UN Environment Program Finance Initiative (UNEP FI), and the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI).  For more information on specific exchanges' sustainability efforts, how to become a Partner Stock Exchange, and further opportunities to advance the integration of sustainability within capital markets, visit www.sseinitiative.org. Follow us on Twitter: @sseinitiative.

UN Global Compact
The United Nations Global Compact is a call to companies everywhere to align their operations and strategies with ten universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption, and to take action in support of UN goals and issues embodied in the Sustainable Development Goals. The UN Global Compact is a leadership platform for the development, implementation and disclosure of responsible corporate practices. Launched in 2000, it is the largest corporate sustainability initiative in the world, with more than 8 000 companies and 4 000 non-business signatories based in over 170 countries, and more than 85 Local Networks. For more information, visit www.unglobalcompact.org. Follow us on Twitter: @globalcompact.

UN Women
UN Women is the UN organisation dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women. A global champion for women and girls, UN Women was established to accelerate progress on meeting their needs worldwide. UN Women supports UN Member States as they set global standards for achieving gender equality, and works with governments and civil society to design laws, policies, programmes and services needed to implement these standards. UN Women also coordinates and promotes the UN system's work in advancing gender equality. For more information, visit: www.unwomen.org.

Women in ETFs
Women in ETFs (WE) is the first women's group for the ETF industry. Founded in January 2014, WE is a non-profit organisation that brings together over 2 500 members, including women and men, in chapters in major financial centres across the United States, Canada, EMEA and Asia Pacific to further the careers of women by leveraging our collective skill and ambition.   

The three major objectives for WE are:  1. CONNECT:  Create opportunities for the professional advancement of women by expanding connections among women and men in the ETF industry.  2.  SUPPORT:  Offer guidance for the current and next generation of women in ETFs.  3.  INSPIRE:  Provide forums for education and idea sharing across the industry and beyond.  For more information, visit www.womeninetfs.com. Follow us on Twitter @WomeninETFs. Follow us on LinkedIn: Women in ETFs.

World Federation of Exchanges
Established in 1961, the WFE is the global industry association for exchanges and clearing houses. The WFE is the definitive source for exchange-traded statistics and publishes over 350 market data indicators. WFE exchanges are home to nearly 45 000 listed companies. The WFE  promotes the development of fair, efficient and transparent markets. It works with policy makers, regulators and standard-setters around the world to support the development of effective rules and standards for exchanges and market participants. For more information, please visit www.world-exchanges.org/home