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GSE, IFC to deepen cooperation on gender equality, sustainable dev’t

The Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE) together with the International Finance Cooperation (IFC), among other stakeholders are poised to enhance their partnership arrangements and roll out more deliberate measures geared toward improving diversity and inclusion in listed companies.

This was the key takeaway when the GSE joined some 110 exchanges around the world for the eighth annual Ring the Bell for Gender Equality

At the event, which had as its theme: ‘Break the Bias: Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow’, Senior Country Officer for the Ghana Cluster of Countries at the IFC, Cemile Hacibeyoglu stated that the unique position of stock exchanges as an intersection for the private and public sectors, makes them ideal to drive the diversity and inclusion agenda.

“Stock exchanges are uniquely positioned to influence markets because they help pair companies, investors and policymakers to support sustainable development practices. They play a crucial role in rallying the private sector to increase women’s participation in business and economic development… Our collaboration with the GSE grows from year to year,” she said.

“IFC is stepping up its work with stock exchanges to improve diversity in listed companies,” she noted, adding that a guidance report on how exchanges can advance gender equality will be launched shortly, together with the UN Sustainable Stock Exchange Initiative.

Country Head of the MasterCard Foundation, Rosy Fynn, delivering the keynote address said despite gains made in advancing gender parity, recent developments have eroded the said gains.

Citing a World Economic Forum study which suggests that the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened the global gender gap and has predicted that it will now take 135.6 years to reach equality, up from about 100 years before the crisis hit, she said more needs to be done urgently, with no segment of society excluded.

“There is no way to build prosperous and inclusive economies without women being involved. It will require deliberate and consistent action not just on the part of government and international organisations,” she said.

Ms. Fynn indicated that her outfit has identified agriculture as a crucial sector for the provision of jobs for women. “We are making our biggest bet on agriculture as it is the biggest contributor to jobs in the country, and we think there is opportunity there to provide jobs for women, specifically.”

On his part, the Managing Director of the GSE, Ekow Afedzie said it would be remiss to limit the focus of the theme to one day, seeing the far-reaching socio-economic implications of increased women participation in leadership roles. “We will make sure that as we move ahead, the theme will be kept at the back of our minds all the time as we grow and develop the exchange because it is crucial to the development of the country to get women to play a vital role in our development, from the front,” he remarked.

He added that the GSE has a history of supporting and indicated that women form more than 50 percent of our management team. He also urged women-owned businesses to use diverse tools on the Exchange to raise capital.

Deputy Managing Director at the Exchange, Abena Amoah said the GSE will continue to bring attention to the pivotal role, the private sector, partnering with the public sector can play in advancing gender equality and raising awareness about women’s empowerment principles.

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