Washington, D.C., March 8, 2021—IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is joining forces with over 100 stock exchanges around the world to "Ring the Bell for Gender Equality"—an initiative linked with International Women's Day that celebrates women's efforts in shaping a more equal future and highlights the inextricable link between gender equality, sustainability, and inclusive growth.
This year's events come at a critical moment, as the economic and social consequences of COVID-19 continue to disproportionally impact women. Research shows that women have borne the brunt of added household burdens and have lost their jobs at about 1.8 times the rate of men. Studies also show that female talent is among the least utilized economic and business resource around the world, and the pandemic is worsening the situation. 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 $12 trillion by 2025 according to a McKinsey Global Institute report.
"Now, more than ever, the world needs women at the table," said Stephanie von Friedeburg, IFC Senior Vice President, Operations. "Stock exchanges are formidable allies to facilitate inclusive opportunities and business practices, increase the pace at which women are appointed to boards and senior leadership, and ultimately help achieve a resilient recovery."
IFC is working with the private sector and international development partners to prevent gender gaps accentuated by the pandemic from widening, including committing $8 billion to sustain businesses and preserve jobs and $4 billion for a global health platform. IFC also is providing guidance to companies on equitable crisis response and recovery, and prioritizing gender balance in its own investments. Women currently represent 49 percent of IFC nominee directors on client company boards, ahead of reaching the corporate target of 50 percent in 2030.
The 2021 Ring the Bell events mark the seventh year of a partnership that includes IFC, The World Federation of Exchanges, Sustainable Stock Exchanges (SSE) Initiative, United Nations Global Compact, UN Women, and Women in ETFs, to raise awareness about the business case for women's economic empowerment and opportunities for the private sector to advance gender equality and sustainable development.
IFC—a member of the World Bank Group—is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. We work in more than 100 countries, using our capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities in developing countries. In fiscal year 2020, we invested $22 billion in private companies and financial institutions in developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.