IFC and Nepal Stock Exchange Ring the Bell for Gender Equality

Kathmandu: For the second consecutive year, IFC joined the Nepal Stock Exchange (NEPSE) to ‘Ring the Bell for Gender Equality,’ an annual global event that highlights how the private sector can spur women’s participation in the global economy and promote sustainable development.

Accelerating the pace of gender parity could lead to important economic, environmental, social, and governance gains in emerging and frontier markets.

If women fully participated informal labor markets, the global gross domestic product (GDP) would increase by $28 trillion, according to the Sustainable Stock Exchanges Initiative.

“For the second year in a row, we join hands with IFC and the UN Global Compact Nepal for the ‘Ring the Bell for Gender Equality event,'” said Krishna Bahadur Karki, CEO of NEPSE.

“We recognize that stock exchanges can play a key role by nudging listed companies to do more to promote equality.”

A growing body of research shows a range of business benefits associated with gender diversity on corporate boards and in senior leadership.

It also underlines the positive influence of gender-diverse management and boards on a company’s sustainability profile, including improved financial performance and shareholder value, and rising investor confidence, among others.

“With countries gradually recovering from the global pandemic, this is the right time to push for increased participation of women to accelerate the recovery process,” said Pradeep Man Vaidya, President of United Nations Global Compact Network Nepal.

In Nepal, the number of women on corporate boards is extremely small. An IFC study in the country’s power sector shows that out of 132 board members from 20 companies, only 12 (9 percent) are women.

Despite Nepal’s Companies Act 2066 BS requiring at least one or more female shareholders, only three out of 10 public companies have women on their boards.

“The Ring the Bell initiative is designed to highlight the catalytic role that stock exchanges can play in fostering gender equality and driving inclusive growth,” said IFC Resident Representative in Nepal Babacar S. Faye.

“It is encouraging to see the commitment of private sector companies in Nepal as demonstrated by 19 power sector companies that worked with IFC’s Powered by Women Initiative to level the playing field.”

IFC has long been engaged in efforts at the capital markets level to support women as economic actors. This work includes women in leadership capacity, support to regulators on integrating gender indicators into corporate governance codes, and co-sponsoring annual Ring the Bell for Gender Equality activities in conjunction with International Women’s Day.

This year, a record 120 exchanges are participating in these events worldwide, from less than 10 exchanges in 2015.