Johannesburg, 09 March 2020: Today, the JSE joined 75 stock exchanges around the world to celebrate International Women's Day, by 'ringing the bell for Gender Equality' in the workplace. This initiative raises awareness about the business case for women's economic empowerment, and the opportunities for the private sector to advance gender equality and sustainable development.
The global 'Ring the Bell for Gender Equality' movement is a collaboration between the United Nations Global Compact South Africa Network, the Sustainable Stock Exchanges Initiative (SSE), the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality, the Empowerment of Women (known as UN Women), the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the World Federation of Exchanges (WFE) and the Women in Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs).
In a report released by the World Economic Forum titled Global Gender Gap Report 2020, it states that globally, the largest gender disparity is the Political Empowerment gap, with the second largest being the Economic Participation and Opportunity gap, of which approximately 57.8% has been closed. The report clearly states that closing these gaps is imperative to delivering on the promise of bringing the Fourth Industrial Revolution to all parts of society, growing economies for greater shared prosperity and achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
The JSE is committed to contributing towards ensuring that these gaps are closed. In 2015, the exchange introduced a listing regulation which requires all listed companies to have a policy for promoting gender diversity at board level, and to disclose their performance against it. To date, all JSE-listed companies have a gender equality policy in place.
Attendees and speakers at this morning's Ring the Bell for Gender Equality included Dr Mantsika Matooane, JSE Board Member; Zanele Morrison; Director of Marketing and Corporate Affairs at the JSE and Dharshni Padayachee, Head of Inclusion and Equality at Rand Merchant Bank. Narrowing the pay gap between men and women was one of the topics discussed.
Morrison concluded that "Gender equality is not an issue that only women should fight for, it is one that society as a whole need to work together to achieve. This includes both the public and private sectors, as well as civil society, including men. Given that the issue of gender inequality is a result of women not being seen, heard or regarded in spaces of power, whether in the home, workspace or society, I have seen that when society starts respecting and listening to both men and women in powerful spaces, it becomes a daily routine, we start to shift society's perception of women, which in turn, evens the playing field for all parties."
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The Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) has a well-established history operating as a market place for trading financial products. It is a pioneering, globally connected exchange group that enables inclusive economic growth through trusted, world class, socially responsible products and services for the investor of the future. It offers secure and efficient primary and secondary capital markets across a diverse range of securities, spanning equities, derivatives and debt markets. It prides itself as being the market of choice for local and international investors looking to gain exposure to leading capital markets on the African continent. The JSE is currently ranked in the Top 20 largest stock exchanges in the world by market capitalisation, and is the largest stock exchange in Africa, having been in operation for 130 years.
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