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Dhaka, Bangladesh, March 10, 2020
—For the fifth consecutive year, IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, has partnered with the Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE) as part of the global Ring the Bell for Gender Equality initiative to celebrate International Women’s Day 2020. The annual event in Dhaka with support from the government of Japan, encourages the private sector to expand opportunities for women as leaders, employees, entrepreneurs, and consumers to promote sustainable development.
The move came as a new IFC study showed that in Bangladesh, only five percent of all independent directors of 294 companies listed on the DSE, are women. The study, titled Portrait of Bangladesh’s Independent Directors, does however show that around 18 percent of board seats in Bangladesh are held by female directors, which is higher than other countries in the South Asia region.
Bangladesh also tops its neighbors in the latest World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Index, ranking 50
among 153 countries. But in economic participation and opportunity, the country stands at 141
position, with only 38 percent of its women active in the labor force, compared with 84 percent of men, according to the
Global Gender Gap Report 2020
“Sustainable development depends on an equitable distribution of resources for today and for the future,” said Md. Eunusur Rahman, Chairman, Dhaka Stock Exchange Limited. “It cannot be achieved without gender equality. Women’s empowerment is a key factor for achieving sustainable economic growth, social development, and environmental sustainability.”
Closing socio-economic gaps between men and women helps drive business and economic growth and improves the lives of families and communities. IFC research has highlighted that correcting gender imbalances could lead to important economic, environmental, social, and governance gains in emerging and frontier markets. Still, women hold only 16.9 percent of board seats globally, only 4.4 percent of global CEO and 5.3 percent board chair positions, and 12.7 percent of global CFO positions.
“As investors, IFC sees the value of having equal gender representation on company boards,” said Wendy Werner, IFC Country Manager for Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Nepal. “It is not only the right thing to do – it is also smart business strategy. We know too that companies with more than one woman on their board have returns over three and a half percent of those that don’t, clearly showing gender equality too yields business dividends.”
IFC works with regulators and stock exchanges across emerging markets to encourage increased gender diversity in leadership positions. Stock exchanges in Bangladesh, Pakistan, Egypt, Kazakhstan, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Uganda, and Vietnam are partnering with IFC in various ways, including developing or updating corporate governance codes to incorporate provisions on board diversity and equal opportunities; providing training and mentoring to women; or introducing ESG Reporting Guidance to improve disclosure practices of listed companies. The Ring the Bell for Gender Equality event is a partnership of
Sustainable Stock Exchanges
Women in ETFs
World Federation of Exchanges
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 where they are needed most. In fiscal year 2019, we delivered more than $19 billion in long-term financing for developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit
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