Beirut, Lebanon, March 7, 2019 —IFC,
a member of the World Bank Group, together with the Beirut Stock Exchange,
UN Women, Global Compact Network in Lebanon, Excellence in Governance Lebanon,
is hosting a conference to promote gender equality and increase women's
participation in Lebanon’s economy.
The event, Ring the Bell for Bell
for Gender Equality, brings together business leaders, investors, government
officials, civil society members, and other key partners at the country
level to highlight the business case for gender equality. It aims to raise
awareness about the business case for women’s economic empowerment and
the opportunities for the private sector to advance gender equality and
“Increasing women’s participation on
boards will result in a greater focus on corporate governance, which is
key to improving performance and attracting investors,” said Saad Sabra,
IFC Country Head in Lebanon.
The event will also showcase the findings
of a recent report that IFC conducted on a sample of 1600 companies in
Lebanon. The study, Women
on Boards, identifies
relationship between board gender diversity and company financial performance
in Lebanon and highlights barriers to women’s access to board positions.
It finds that gender diverse boards have stronger company performance,
better workplace environment and higher employee satisfaction levels.
The study revealed that Lebanese companies
with gender-diverse boards outperformed those with all-male boards. On
average, companies exhibited higher profitability measures and better solvency.
Companies with female board members exhibited double the return on equity
(20.7 percent compared to 10.3 percent for all-male boards), and 2.3 percent
higher growth in return on assets.
Last year, a record 65 exchanges rang
their bells for gender equality. Now, in its fifth iteration, a global
collaboration across  stock exchanges around the world plan to ‘Ring
the Bell for Gender Equality’, to celebrate International Women’s Day
2019 (Friday, 8 March 2019).
The event is part of IFC’s corporate
governance program in MENA, which aims to help local firms operate more
efficiently and improve access to capital. The program is supported by
the government of Canada.
IFC - a sister organization of the World
Bank and member of the World Bank Group - is the largest global development
institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. We work
with more than 2,000 businesses worldwide, using our capital, expertise,
and influence to create markets and opportunities in the toughest areas
of the world. In fiscal year 2018, we delivered more than $23 billion in
long-term financing for developing countries, leveraging the power of the
private sector to help end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity.
For more information, visit www.ifc.org.