Manila, March 14, 2018
—For the second consecutive year, IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and the Philippine Stock Exchange are joining stock exchanges around the world to “Ring the Bell for Gender Equality” to celebrate International Women’s Day 2018—a partnership that highlights how the private sector can spur women’s participation in the global economy and promote sustainable development.
“We must drive economic development through gender equality,” said Stephanie von Friedeburg, IFC Chief Operating Officer. “With over $18 trillion in purchasing power, women have the power to transform the global economy.”
Studies show that female talent is among the least utilized economic and business resources around the world. Making even small inroads in closing the global gender gap could quickly yield strong results, with the potential to increase global gross domestic product by $5.3 trillion over the next seven years, according to a 2017 report from the World Economic Forum. 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.
Ring the Bell
events include over 60 stock exchanges. Participating organizations are encouraged to take a public stand to signal their commitment to gender equality, such as signing onto the
Women’s Empowerment Principles
, guidelines on empowering women in the workplace, marketplace and community.
Participating exchanges are also encouraged to prioritize diversity in their own corporate structures—by implementing gender-friendly workplace policies; developing female-oriented investment products; reporting to shareholders on diversity objectives, policies, and practices; and increasing the number of women holding board and senior leadership positions.
“Research shows that empowering women is not only the right thing to do, but also the smart thing to do. It can lead to increases in GDP, higher productivity and return on investment, and better organizational effectiveness, said Yuan Xu, IFC Country Manager for the Philippines. “As the engine for job creation, investment and innovation, the private sector is indispensable in advancing women’s economic empowerment and sustainable development.”
IFC welcomes the unified voice that stock exchanges add in advocating for equal gender representation on companies’ boards and senior management. Studies such as the Catalyst analysis of the U.S. Fortune 500 have found that firms with gender-diverse boards outperform those with male-only boards by as much as 53 percent as measured by returns on equity.
Ring the Bell
participants are acknowledging what the evidence demonstrates: that shattering corporate glass ceilings is a smart business strategy.
IFC has also been supporting the work of the Institute of Corporate Directors (ICD) to increase participation of women directors in boards of Philippine companies as part of its efforts to elevate good corporate governance in the country. With support from IFC, ICD recently launched the results of a study on gender diversity on Philippine boards.
IFC’s support for gender-smart business solutions includes working with companies in developing countries to generate opportunities for women that also contribute to bottom-line benefits. The institution leverages its relationship with over 1,000 financial institutions and private equity funds to expand access to finance for female entrepreneurs. It also promotes good corporate-governance practices such as board diversity. IFC has 30 percent female representation among nominee directors on the boards of its own investee companies today, and aims to increase that rate to 50 percent.
IFC’s corporate governance program in the Philippines is also implemented in partnership with the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs of Switzerland.
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