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IFC and Partners Ring the Bell for Gender Inclusion and Women Empowerment in Egypt


In Cairo:
Riham Mustafa
Phone: +(202) 2461-4230
E-mail: rmustafa@ifc.org

Cairo, Egypt, March 8, 2018—IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, together with the Egyptian Exchange, UN Women, Global Compact Network in Egypt, the National Council for Women, and the Egyptian Institute of Directors, is hosting a conference to raise awareness on the importance of advancing gender equality and increasing women’s participation in the economy.

The event provide an opportunity for 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 will also showcase steps taken by some companies to empower women in the workplace.

“As business leaders, entrepreneurs, employees and consumers, women are fundamental to inclusive growth—creating business models that boost job growth, build capital markets and raise per-capita incomes while promoting sustainable development,” said Jingdong Hua, IFC Vice President and Treasurer.

Studies show that female talent is among the least utilized business resources in the world. Making even small inroads in closing the global gender gap could quickly yield strong results, with the potential to increase the global gross domestic product by $5.3 trillion over the next seven years, according to a 2017 report from the World Economic Forum.

In Egypt, women are still paid less than men for equal work; the gender wage gap currently stands at 22 percent. A recent study by the World Bank Group found that Egypt’s gross domestic product could jump by 32 percent if men and women participated equally in the labor market.

For listed companies, failure to capitalize on these resources—for example, by adding more women to their boards and ranks of senior leadership—represents a substantial opportunity cost.

“Diversity is not only the right thing to do, but also the smart thing to do,” said Walid Labadi, IFC Country manager in Egypt, Libya, and Yemen. “We welcome and encourage the unified voice that stock exchanges add to advocating for equal gender representation on companies’ boards and senior management as a smart business strategy.”

According to a recent IFC study, companies with female directors performed significantly better than those without, with a return on assets three times higher and return on equity twice as high. In Egypt, only 7 percent of firms are led by a female top executive.

Now in its fourth iteration, over 60 stock exchanges around the world will “Ring the Bell for Gender Equality” on the occasion of International Women’s Day 2018. The effort highlights how the private sector can increase women’s participation in the global economy and promote sustainable development.

Mohamed Farid, EGX Chairman, said that EGX is highly supporting gender equality issue asserting that women empowerment is one of the important elements for economic growth. He added “EGX signed in July 2017 a memorandum of understanding with the Business School of the American University to promote for women’s participation in listed companies’ Boards.  This cooperation will help increase number of qualified women ready to join corporate boards. Farid finally highlighted that about 47% of EGX listed companies has at least one lady their Board of Directors”.


The event is part of IFC’s corporate governance program in Egypt, which aims to help local firms operate more efficiently and improve access to capital. The program is supported by the Japanese Ministry of Finance.

About IFC
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 FY17, we delivered a record $19.3 billion in long-term financing for developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to help end poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit www.ifc.org

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About EGX
The Egyptian Exchange (EGX) is one of the oldest and most open stock markets in the region. It traces its origin to 1883, when Alexandria Stock Exchange was established, followed by Cairo Stock Exchange in 1903.  EGX’s mission is to operate and develop a high-quality market for the benefits of its domestic and international clients. EGX provides top notch market technology, innovative products; stocks, bonds, ETFs, fair, transparent, and efficient markets to its clients. Within its Sustainability efforts, The Egyptian Exchange hosted the Ringing of Bell ceremony for three consecutive years (since 2015) as a support for gender equality and women empowerment.

About the Women’s Empowerment Principles

The Women's Empowerment Principles – Equality Means Business is a joint initiative of UN Women and the UN Global Compact. The Principles outline seven steps for business on how to empower women in the workplace, marketplace and community. The Principles highlight that empowering women to participate fully in economic life across all sectors and throughout all levels of economic activity is essential to build strong economies; establish more stable and just societies; achieve internationally agreed goals for development, sustainability, and human rights; improve quality of life for women, men, families and communities; and propel business' operations and goals. Learn more at https://www.empowerwomen.org/en/weps/about

Sustainable Stock Exchanges Initiative

The SSE is a peer-to-peer learning platform for exploring how exchanges—in collaboration with investors, regulators, and companies—can encourage sustainable investment and enhance corporate transparency, and ultimately performance, on ESG (environmental, social and corporate governance) issues. The SSE is convened by the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the UN Global Compact, the UN Environment Program Finance Initiative (UNEP FI), and the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI).  For more information on specific exchanges’ sustainability efforts, how to become a Partner Stock Exchange, and further opportunities to advance the integration of sustainability within capital markets, visit www.sseinitiative.org. Follow us on Twitter: @sseinitiative

UN Global Compact

The United Nations Global Compact is a call to companies everywhere to align their operations and strategies with ten universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, labor, environment and anti-corruption, and to take action in support of UN goals and issues embodied in the Sustainable Development Goals. The UN Global Compact is a leadership platform for the development, implementation and disclosure of responsible corporate practices. Launched in 2000, it is the largest corporate sustainability initiative in the world, with more than 9,500 companies and 3,000 non-business signatories based in over 160 countries, and more than 70 Local Networks. For more information, visit www.unglobalcompact.org. Follow us on Twitter: @globalcompact

UN Women

UN Women is the UN organization dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women. A global champion for women and girls, UN Women was established to accelerate progress on meeting their needs worldwide. UN Women supports UN Member States as they set global standards for achieving gender equality, and works with governments and civil society to design laws, policies, programs and services needed to implement these standards. UN Women also coordinates and promotes the UN system’s work in advancing gender equality. For more information, visit www.unwomen.org

Women in ETFs

Women in ETFs is the first women’s group for the ETF industry. Founded in January 2014, WE is a non-profit organization that brings together over 3,700 members, including women and men, in chapters in major financial centers across the United States, Canada, EMEA and Asia Pacific to further the careers of women by leveraging our collective skill and ambition. Women in ETFs brings together women and men in the ETF industry in the United States, Canada, EMEA and Asia Pacific to: 1. CONNECT: Create opportunities for professional advancement of women by expanding connections among women and men in the ETF industry, 2. SUPPORT: Offer guidance for the current and next generation of women in ETFs and 3. INSPIRE: WE achieves this by organizing events at our chapters globally that support our goals of education, networking, philanthropy and idea sharing across the industry and beyond. For more information, visit: www. womeninetfs.com to learn more, join, or sponsor. Follow us on Twitter: @WomeninETFs and on Linkedin: Women in ETFs

World Federation of Exchanges (WFE)

Established in 1961, the WFE is the global industry association for exchanges and clearing houses. The WFE is the definitive source for exchange-traded statistics and publishes over 350 market data indicators. WFE exchanges are home to nearly 45,000 listed companies. The WFE promotes the development of fair, efficient and transparent markets. It works with policy makers, regulators and standard-setters around the world to support the development of effective rules and standards for exchanges and market participants. For more information, please visit: https://www.world-exchanges.org