Johannesburg, 8 March 2022: The Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) today joined more than 100 peer stock exchanges across the world in appealing to their local Governments and corporates to step up their support for women’s economic development in commemoration of the annual International Women’s Day (IWD).
“We can substantially change the economic fortunes of societies,” says Vuyo Lee, JSE’s Director of Marketing and Corporate Affairs, “by boosting women entrepreneurship, making women empowerment a top priority in the workplace as well as fostering public policies and social norms that advance women economic participation”.
To mark the IWD, the JSE hosted the annual “Ring the Bell for Gender Equality” ceremony. For the eighth year in a row, the celebrations kicked off by ringing the bell and sounding the kudu horn during the market open in honour of the initiative.
Reflecting on this year’s theme “Gender Equality Today, For A Sustainable Tomorrow”, Lee says the economic development of women is at the heart of gender equality. This year’s event takes place at a time when countries around the world are focused on rebuilding their economies after they were devastated by the Covid-19 pandemic. At the height of the pandemic, millions of women lost their jobs and many have not rejoined the labour market.
“We all need to recognise that preventing women empowerment has a devastating impact not only on the individuals involved, but on the overall economy as well. So, more and more women must occupy their spot at the wealth-generating table now if we are to have a sustainable and inclusive tomorrow,” adds Lee.
The JSE has a combination of policies and practices to promote a culture of gender equality. The following actions are in place to drive the desired behaviour and mindset:
- Pay parity – The JSE adheres to an equal pay for equal work philosophy – and supports this through an annual independent assessment of compensation data to pinpoint any anomalies across gender, race and grade so that corrective action can be taken.
- Gender-neutral parental leave policy – All JSE employees qualify for four months of paid parental leave, regardless of their gender or gender identity under the new parental leave policy.
- In terms of the JSE listing requirements, listed companies must report to their shareholders on gender representation at Board level.
Furthermore, the JSE Board, the highest decision-making body in the organisation, is led by a female Chairperson, Nonkululeko Nyembezi, and comprises 66,67% women representation, and the JSE executive committee, led by a woman CEO Leila Fourie, is 77,78% female.
The JSE hosted the ceremony in partnership with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), World Federation of Exchanges (WFE), Sustainable Stock Exchanges (SSE) initiative, UN Global Compact and UN Women. Busi Mavuso, CEO of Business Leadership South Africa (BUSA), will deliver a keynote address.
The keynote address was followed by a panel discussion addressing this year’s theme comprising Nompilo Morafo who is the Chief Sustainability & Corporate Affairs Officer at MTN, RMB’s Human Capital Executive Nomfundo Makaya, and Michelle Noth, Co-Chairperson at Women in ETF’s SA. Dr Precious Moloi-Motsepe, co-founder and CEO of Motsepe Foundation, delivered the closing address.
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