Nairobi, 8 March 2023 – Global Compact Network Kenya (GCNK) in partnership with the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE), UN Women Kenya and International Finance Corporate (IFC) today joined 116 stock exchanges globally to Ring the Bell for Gender Equality in commemoration of the International Women’s Day.
Gracing the occasion, Director, Ministry of Gender and Affirmative Action, Ms. Emily Opati affirmed, “The Government is prioritizing public private partnerships to increase business accessibility to more markets through digital spaces for instance social media. The Ministry is committed to the ‘Bottom Up’ agenda as women are a nation’s crucial assets and empowering them is empowering the whole family, society and nation.”
The event, held for the ninth (9th) consecutive year, seeks to raise awareness about the role and opportunities for the private sector to advance gender equality and sustainable development.
Speaking during the event, Global Compact Network Kenya, Executive Director, Ms. Judy Njino said "We cannot afford to ignore the digital gender gap. If women are unable to access the Internet and do not feel safe online, they are unable to develop the necessary digital skills to engage in digital spaces, which diminishes their opportunities to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) related fields."
“We believe that access to digital technology is a fundamental human right, and that it is essential for achieving gender equality. We need business creativity, expertise and leadership to be directed towards advancing gender parity in the workplace.” Ms. Njino added.
The theme for the 2023 Ring the Bell - “DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality” — seeks to influence digital access that helps raise women and girls’ awareness of their rights, increase their civic engagement and expression of ideas and opinions, their participation in creative and cultural practices, leisure and in connecting with peers.
“As a stock exchange, we are uniquely positioned to influence our market in a way few other actors can. We play a central role in the economy in which we operate,” said NSE Chief Officer, Human Resources and Administration, Ms. Lucy Kamar.
“We are well-placed to meet this demand with an influence and a voice across the capital markets ecosystem.” Ms. Kamar added.
Speaking during the event, UN Women Kenya, Team Lead Women Economic Empowerment Elizabeth Obanda said “We know that technology and innovation are essential to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs. We also know that digitalization has the potential to create millions of decent jobs for women towards the achievement of sustainable inclusive growth.”
Exchanges that have participated in the past seven years of ringing the bell for gender equality have made progress by:
- Promoting women’s access to finance and encouraging women to invest in public markets.
- Developing new products, such as sustainability-linked bonds with gender criteria and gender bonds.
- Signing and adopting the Women’s Empowerment Principles, which offer guidance to businesses on how to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment in the workplace, marketplace and community
- Promoting gender equality listing criteria and gender data disclosure
As of Feb 2023, over 30 exchanges have signed the WEPs and are working to implement them internally and influence listed companies to also make a commitment to gender equality and women’s empowerment in the workplace, marketplace and community.