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IFC, SECM, and Myanmar Stock Exchange ring the bell for gender equality

Yangon, Myanmar, March 9, 2018 —IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, the Securities and Exchange Commission of Myanmar (SECM) and the Yangon Stock Exchange (YSX), are joining stock exchanges around the world to ‘Ring the Bell for Gender Equality” to celebrate International Women’s Day 2018. The initiative highlights how the private sector can spur women’s participation in the global economy and promote sustainable development.
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.
This year’s Ring the Bell events include 59 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.
“This is the second time that the event — ‘Ring the Bell for Gender Equality’ — is being held on the Yangon trading floor and we are honored to host this bell ringing ceremony,” said Daw Tin May Oo, Commission Member of the Securities and Exchange Commission of Myanmar. “We hope that this initiative can help further the advocacy for gender equality in companies in Myanmar.”
Participating exchanges also are 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.
In Myanmar, several prominent institutions — including the Myanmar Business Coalition (MBC), Myanmar Institute of Directors (MIoD), Professional Women Network (PWN) and Women Corporate Directors (WCD), Myanmar Chapter — joined IFC, SECM, and YSX for the event. The event was also supported by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the UK’s Department for International Development.
“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, productivity, return on investment, and also ensure organizational effectiveness,” said Vikram Kumar, IFC Country Manager for Myanmar. “IFC welcomes the unified voice that stock exchanges add in advocating for gender equality through to the very top of corporate organizational charts.”
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.
Now in its fourth edition, the “Ring the Bell for Gender Equality” event is a partnership of IFC, Sustainable Stock Exchanges (SSE) Initiative , the UN Global Compact , UN Women , Women in ETFs , and the W orld Federation of Stock Exchanges .
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 .
About the Securities and Exchange Commission of Myanmar
The Securities and Exchange Commission of Myanmar (SECM) was formed on 19 th August, 2014, according to the Notification No.64/2014 of the office of Union Government. It is composed of 7 members headed by Chairman cum deputy minister of Ministry of Planning and Finance. The Commission is the regulatory body for the Securities Industries responsible for the establishment of Stock Exchange, and also formation of fair, efficient and transparent market in Myanmar.
About the Yangon Stock Exchange
Yangon Stock Exchange (YSX) is a first-ever modern stock exchange in Myanmar, which started its operation in March 2016, after holding a grand opening ceremony on 9 th December, 2015. In line with nation’s policy, YSX is a unique place for providing market facilities for securities trading aiming to achieve economic development with mobilizing long-term fund through making new investment opportunities and building public confidence upon the stock market. Moreover, YSX will continue its efforts in improving the stock market in terms of Integrity, Fairness and Openness to investors.
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