Stock Exchanges and Global Partners rally to advance gender equality

Published On: March 29, 2024 07:25 PM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, March 29: To mark International Women’s Day, Global Compact Nepal, International Finance Corporation, Nepal Stock Exchange, and the United Nations, partnered to jointly Ring the Bell for Gender Equality, highlighting the private sector’s key role in boosting the investment in gender equality in Nepal.

Under the theme Invest in Women-Accelerate Progress, the event chaired by Bhagbati Chaudhary, Minister for Women, Children and Senior Citizen and attended by public, private and development partners highlighted the opportunities to jointly advance gender equality by actively increasing women’s access in Nepal’s financial sector.

Speaking at the event, Minister Chaudhary urged everyone to invest in women to help minimize gender gaps at all levels. She added, “The Ministry has allocated 42% of its budget to empower women through skills development, which will enhance women's economic empowerment. I hope that the bell we rang today will serve as a reminder for all of us to invest every day in women and promote gender equality.”

The event that started with ringing the bell witnessed representatives from different sectors deliver their commitment speech to invest in women and to advance gender equality.

"Women's economic empowerment is not only a question of equality but absolutely necessary for the wellbeing of the society as a whole and its sustainable economic growth. Finland itself is an example of a country that has successfully invested in gender equality when building a strong democracy and economy. The forthcoming LDC graduation of Nepal highlights the need for an inclusive economic transformation - investments in women will multiply," said Finnish Ambassador to Nepal Riina-Riikka Heikka.

Welcoming the participants and setting the context of the event, the Country Representative of UN Women, Patricia Fernandez-Pacheco highlighted, “Investing in women is not only the right thing to do but also the wisest decision. As investment in women rises, so does productivity, profitability, and efficiency. Aligned with the conclusions of the global gathering, Commission on the Status of Women (CSW68), we urge all sectors to join us in this.”

Research shows that having inclusive and gender-diverse boards and senior leadership is positively correlated with better financial and non-financial performance contributing to overall company growth and enhanced environmental, social and governance or ESG practices and policies.

“Targeted and well-tailored interventions to advance gender diversity and equality in non-traditional sectors, such as hydropower, have proven net positive impacts on the employees, businesses, and the sector worldwide,” said IFC Country Manager for Bhutan, Bangladesh, and Nepal Martin Holtmann. “It would hasten the country’s progress on advancing gender parity, estimated to translate into a $3 billion or a 9.2 percent increase in its GDP by 2025.”

As the largest driver of formal employment, the private sector has a key role in addressing employment and gender gaps in Nepal. An analytical report on ‘Women in Business’ by the Central Bureau of the Statistics in 2021, revealed there are 29.6 percent female managers compared to that of 70.3 percent of male managers.

“Even though the numbers are much less compared to men, we are beginning to see a change, we are beginning to see more women owning and running businesses,” said Acting Chairperson of the Securities Board of Nepal Dr. Navaraj Adhikari. “Nepali women are undoubtedly a central force propelling the country’s economy, and today’s bellringing symbolizes our commitment to empowering women through strategic investments,” he added.

This year’s International Women’s Day theme of Investing in Women, Accelerating Progress is a clear call to action. Stock exchanges can help improve transparency and disclosure of gender-related data, promote access to finance, and encourage women to invest in public markets.

Shedding light on the way forwards, Executive Director at Global Compact Nepal Krishna Shah said, "The adoption of Women's Empowerment Principles (WEPS) within Nepal's private sector is important and Global Compact Nepal is actively driving on this in partnership with UN Women. However, our efforts need amplification, because at our current rate it will take over 169 years to achieve gender equality in terms of women’s economic empowerment and participation."

The event also staged a fireside chat between Former President of FNCCI Bhawani Rana, and a pioneer entrepreneur Grace Rauniyar, who shared inspirational stories of aspiring women and the importance of investing in the leadership role of women to accelerate progress for gender equality.

The Ring the Bell for Gender Equality Initiative – a global partnership that includes UN Women, IFC, United Nations Global Compact, and The World Federation of Exchanges – advocates for the full and equal participation of all people to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and create a world free of poverty on a livable planet.


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