IFC, partners Ring the Bell for women empowerment in Egypt
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, the Egyptian Exchange, UN Women, and the Egyptian Institute of Directors partnered during the annual Ring the Bell for Gender Equality event to encourage the private sector expand economic opportunities for women in Egypt.
Closing socio-economic gaps between men and women helps drive business and economic growth and improves the lives of families and communities. Strengthening gender equality increases resiliency to violence and conflict.
In Egypt, women represent about 50 percent of the college graduates, but only 23 percent of them enter the labor force and they hold just 14 percent of all board seats, according to IFC’s recent ‘Women on Board’ study. Companies with gender-diversified boards and workforce exhibited 8 percent greater growth in return on equity as well as return on assets, and 7 percent higher growth in return on sales.
Mohamed Farid, the chairman of Egypt’s Stock Exchange (EGX) said, “EGX is fully committed to empowering women and promoting their role, particularly in listed companies. All international organizations stress that empowerment of women does not only help improve company performance at the financial and administrative levels, but also is essential to boosting economic growth. Empowering women requires creating an enabling business environment to conform to women’s needs, as well as to encourage greater female participation in labor market.”
“Empowering women is not only the right thing to do, it is also smart economics,” said Beatrice Maser, IFC’s regional director for the Middle East and North Africa. “Access to finance and high unemployment are key challenges for women in Egypt and across MENA. The private sector has a critical role to play in helping close the gender gap and we are working with our partners and clients to help level the gender playing field across region.”
The event is part of IFC’s corporate governance program in the Middle East and North Africa, which aims to help local firms operate more efficiently and improve access to capital. The program is implemented in partnership with Japan’s Ministry of Finance.
The 2020 Ring the Bell events mark the sixth year of IFC’s partnership with stock exchanges. IFC works with regulators and stock exchanges across emerging markets to encourage increased gender diversity in leadership positions.