Cairo, Egypt, March 4, 2019—IFC,
a member of the World Bank Group, the Egyptian Exchange, UN Women, Global
Compact Network in Egypt, and the Egyptian Institute of Directors, are
hosting a conference today to promote gender equality and increase women's
participation in Egypt’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 to highlight the
business case for gender equality. IFC and partner organizations rang the
opening bell at the Egyptian Exchange.
That was followed by speeches and a
round-table discussion on the importance of women to Egypt’s economy.
The event 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 sustainable development.
Mohamed Farid, Chairman of the Egyptian
Exchange, said, “Empowering women is key to achieving inclusive growth
and sustainable development, and we are committed to supporting women and
enhancing their role in various political, economic, and social spheres.”
He added that female representation on the boards of listed companies increased
to 10.2 percent in 2018, up from 9.6 percent in 2017.
The event will also showcase the findings
of a new IFC report found that Egyptian companies with gender-diverse boards
outperformed those with all-male boards. The study, titled Women on
Boards, found gender-diverse companies had higher profitability, less
debt, improved governance policies, and a better employee retention rate
than those run by men alone. They also showed 2 percent higher growth in
return on equity, 4 percent higher growth in return on assets, and 5 percent
higher growth in return on sales. Despite that, women hold only 14 percent
of all board seats in Egypt.
“Women bring valuable expertise and
important perspectives to companies, and their impact on the bottom line
is undeniable,” said Walid Labadi, IFC Country Manager for Egypt, Libya
and Yemen. “It’s time for more companies in Egypt to recognize that.”
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 the Middle East and North Africa, which aims to help
local firms operate more efficiently and improve access to capital. The
program is supported by Japan’s Ministry of Finance.
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.