JSE Rings the Bell for Gender Equality
Johannesburg, 08 March 2016: Today the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) joined 34 other stock exchanges around the world in marking International Women's Day (8 March) in order to raise awareness of gender equality and the need for transformation in the financial industry. The initiative involved collaboration with the UN Global Compact South Africa Network / National Business Initiative, the Sustainable Stock Exchanges Initiative (SSE), UN Women, IFC, the World Federation of Exchanges and Women in ETFs.
The Ring the Bell for Gender Equality opening ceremony at the JSE, which was hosted by JSE Director of Marketing and Corporate Affairs Zeona Jacobs, included an insightful panel discussion on the United Nation's Women Empowerment Principles. The keynote address, was delivered by Public Protector, advocate Thulisilie Madonsela. These seven principles guide businesses on how to empower women in the workplace, marketplace and community. One of the three panelists was Dr Mantsika Amelia Matooane, who currently sits on The JSE Board and is a non-executive director of JSE Limited.
"Embracing diversity in the workplace is a key strength for any company and a definite competitive advantage," said Jacobs. "Having inclusion at senior management level enables more strategic, out-of-the-box thinking and more efficient decision-making. The JSE is a good example of this, as seven of our 10 exco members are women and 51% of our employees are female. Because the JSE is regarded as a leader in the financial industry, we are ideally positioned to be a catalyst for gender transformation in the sector. This aligns with the efforts of our partner, the SSE, to contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, which includes aiming for gender equality. This objective has been identified as one of four goals stock exchanges are best positioned to support."
Regarding the significance of the JSE's involvement in the Ringing the Bell for Gender Equality project, Jacobs concludes, "As a longstanding partner of the Sustainable Stock Exchanges initiative and a member of the World Federation of Exchanges Sustainability Working Group, the JSE remains committed to promoting sustainable and equitable business. Being a part of significant global events such as these creates the opportunity for us to contextualise the debate for South Africa while expanding the global consensus on these issues."
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. www.jse.co.za
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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 FY15, our long-term investments in developing countries rose to nearly $18 billion, helping 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
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. www.unglobalcompact.org
UN Women is the UN organization 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. To learn more at: www.unwomen.org
Women in ETFs
Women in ETFs is (WE) is the first women's group for the ETF industry. Founded in January 2014, WE is a non-profit organization that brings together 1,700 members, including women and men, in chapters in major financial centers across the United States, Canada, EMEA and Asia Pacific to further the careers of women by leveraging our collective skill and ambition. WE achieves this by organizing events at our chapters globally that support our goals of education, networking, and philanthropy, The three major objectives for WE are: 1. CONNECT: Create opportunities for 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. Visit us at womeninetfs.com to learn more, join, or sponsor. Follow us on Twitter @WomeninETFs and LinkedIn.
World Federation of Exchanges
The World Federation of Exchanges is the trade association for the operators of regulated financial exchanges. With 64 members from around the globe, the WFE develops and promotes standards in markets, supporting reform in the regulation of OTC derivatives markets, international cooperation and coordination among regulators. WFE exchanges are home to nearly 45,000 listed companies. WFE statistics database covers more than 350 indicators and 70 years of data from exchanges worldwide. www.world-exchanges.org/home
About the Women's Empowerment Principles (WEPs)
In 2010, the UN Global Compact, in partnership with UN Women, launched the Women's Empowerment Principles (WEPs)– seven Principles for business on how to empower women in the workplace, marketplace, and community. The WEPs provide a ready-made platform to mobilize corporate action and catalyze partnerships and collaborations that have the potential to deepen and accelerate impact. The WEPs are endorsed by over 1140 companies from over 50 countries. www.weprinciples.org