Georgian Stock Exchange, IFC, CiDA, UN Women “Ring the Bell for Gender Equality”

Today, for the first time, Tbilisi hosted a “Ring the Bell for Gender Equality” event in celebration of International Women’s Day 2018, emphasizing the importance of gender equality for economic growth and development. 

Recent estimates show that if the gender gap in economic participation was closed by 25% by 2025, global GDP could increase by up to $5.3 trillion in the same time period. Georgia is ranked 75th out of 144 countries measured in 2017 for The World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report, compared to 41st out of 115 countries over a decade ago.

Today’s event highlighted how the empowerment of women can help achieve greater productivity in private companies, ultimately supporting the economy, creating jobs, increasing incomes and promoting development. It was attended by around 70 government, private sector and international organization representatives. 

Part of a global campaign, the event in Tbilisi was a partnership between IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, the Georgian Stock Exchange, UN Women, the Civil Development Agency (CiDA) and the Secretariat of Global Compact Network Georgia. The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs supported the event, through the UN Women-led program.  

Below are a couple of key quotes from the event: 

“The potential benefits from women’s economic empowerment are significant. Multiple studies show listed companies with women represented on boards outperform those without,” George Paresishvili, CEO, Georgian Stock Exchange said. “We are delighted to join stock exchanges around the world in advocating for equal gender representation on boards and in senior management as a smart business strategy.”  

“Narrowing the gender gap can help drive growth and improve the lives of many families, which is why IFC and its partners have joined forces to strengthen women’s participation in the private sector as employees, entrepreneurs, consumers, and leaders,” said Jan van Bilsen, IFC Regional Manager for the South Caucasus. “Georgia would benefit greatly from tapping this potential.”

Erika Kvapilova, UN Women Country Representative, told the audience: “Women’s empowerment is not only an important human rights imperative, and a precondition of sustainable development, but it also contributes to higher productivity, better results and greater sustainability for private companies.” 

Salome Zurabishvili, CiDA representative, Managing Head of the Global Compact Network Georgia, also participated at the event. “Women’s empowerment in the business sector in Georgia has been impressive in the last couple of years. We have been actively working with leading companies to support the incorporation of Women’s Empowerment Principles in business operations and interest among businesses is growing rapidly,” she said. 

This is the fourth Ring the Bell event organized globally by IFC and the Sustainable Stock Exchanges Initiative, together with the United Nations Global CompactUN WomenWomen in ETFs and the World Federation of Exchanges.

By Máté Földi 

07 March 2018 16:30