10 March 2023, Johannesburg – On 8 March 2023, International Women’s Day (IWD) was celebrated across the globe. The day aims to honour the many social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, raise awareness about and accelerate women’s equality and be a call-to-action for realising gender parity.
To champion a gender-equal world under the 2023 theme that calls for digital integration and transformation, the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) once again participated in the Ring the Bell for Gender Equality campaign this year.
Now in its ninth year, this global initiative is a partnership between the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the World Federation of Exchanges (WFE), the Sustainable Stock Exchanges (SSE) initiative, the UN Global Compact and UN Women to foster gender equality, sustainable development, and women’s empowerment in the workplace.
This year’s IWD theme, DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality, focuses on the impact of the digital gender gap and the widening economic and social inequalities it causes. Although women make up nearly half of the world’s population, almost 40% of them don’t use the internet – one of the main reasons for this being a lack of access when compared to men. In part, this can be attributed to fewer women owning mobile phones than men, a gap currently sitting at 184 million.
When it comes to the professional environment, the gender disparity continues. Over the past 15 years, the number of women studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects has remained at 35%. Taking into account that by 2050, 75% of jobs will be related to this field, the lack of digital skills severely limits the future careers of women.
Technology critical for gender-equal trading
Looking at trading, stock market systems are highly dependent on technology. From requiring basic mobility to action investment decisions to utilising complicated algorithms collected through big data, technological advancements have played an integral part in the evolution of financial markets.
The JSE join more than 100 peer stock exchanges across the world to raise awareness about Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs). This included encouraging corporates and government to amplify their support for women’s economic development by prioritising critical gender-equality commitments, especially when it comes to transformative technology and digital education.
“Access to transformative technology and empowerment through digital education should be prioritised to build an inclusive future for women,” said Itumeleng Monale, Chief Operating Officer at the JSE. “Collaboration is a critical when it comes to achieving key imperatives such as gender equality, and we recognise the importance of the public and private sectors working together to unlock and fast-track initiatives that will drive digital integration and transformation.”
The bourse prides itself on leading from the front in the transformation and women representation discourse. Currently, female representation on the JSE Board and Exco sits at 64% and 80% respectively.
To commemorate this important day, the JSE hosted an annual Ring the Bell for Gender Equality market open on Friday, 10 March 2023. Celebrations started with the JSE’s Chief Operating Officer, Itumeleng Monale, welcoming attendees where she reaffirmed the JSE’s commitment to achieving a progressive, inclusive and sustainable future for all, as well as support initiatives aimed at driving education, women empowerment and inclusion. This was followed by a keynote address delivered by Nonkululeko Gobodo, Chief Executive Officer at Awakened Global who highlighted the importance of women releasing themselves from self-limiting beliefs and find their authentic power to innovate and be at the forefront.
ABOUT THE JSE
The Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) has a well-established history of operating as a marketplace 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 135 years.
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