The Egyptian Exchange (EGX), in collaboration with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, UN Women and the Egyptian Institute of Directors, organized the Ringing the Bells for Gender Equality annual celebration, entitled “I am Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights” this year. The annual event aiming to celebrate International Women’s Day to encourage women’s empowerment in Egypt.
Dr. Nabila Makram, Minister of Emigration, Dr. Hala Al-Said, Minister of Planning, Yasmine Fouad, Minister of Environment, and Dr. Basant Fahmy, member of the Egyptian parliament, participated in opening of the trading session today, Monday 9th of March 2020, in the presence of EGX’s Chairman Mohamed Farid Saleh, Walid Labadi, IFC’s Country Director, Dr. Maya Morsi, President of the National Council of Women, representatives of related entities supporting and empowering women, and a number of women leaders of listed companies.
The event is part of the IFC Corporate Governance Program aiming to help local companies operate efficiently and improve access to capital, implemented in partnership with the Ministry of Finance of Japan. According to IFC, gender equality help drive business, stimulate economic growth, improves lives of families and communities, strengthen gender equality, and enhance resilience in confronting violence.
Mohamed Farid Saleh, Chairman of EGX, expressed the full commitment of its management in supporting all efforts aiming at empowering women and strengthening their role, especially in the registered companies, pointing out that all international institutions emphasize that the empowerment of women does not only contribute to improving the performance of companies at the financial and administrative level but is an essential element in supporting economic growth rates. He added that women’s empowerment requires developing the work environment to suit their requirements, as well as motivating women to increase their participation in the labor market. Adding “48% of listed companies have at least one woman on their board in 2019, compared to 45% in 2018, and the number of companies with two women on the board increased by 133%.”
Ambassador Nabila Makram Abdel Shaheed, Minister of Immigration and Egyptians Affairs abroad, expressed her pleasure to participate in today’s celebrate, wishing the EGX prosperity, praising its management and their efforts in supporting the process of enhancing opportunities for women. She added that Egyptians abroad are an integral part of the Egyptian economy, pointing out that their cash transfers have had a major impact on the Egyptian economy, and that is due to their confidence in the economic reforms taking place in Egypt. She explained that EGX’s chairman and management is cooperating with the Ministry to introduce basics of investment in the Egyptian market to motivate them to invest in their homeland.
Dr. Hala Al-Saeed, Minister of Planning and Economic Development, said that increasing women’s participation in the labor market is an integral part of Egypt’s vision 2030, promoting opportunities for economic growth, the more economically empowering women, the greater the benefit to the national economy and the greater the gross national product. She referred to the statement of Christine Lagarde, stating that “Empowering women is critical for the world’s economy and people”, pointing out the efforts of the government and the serious steps taken in the field of women’s empowerment.
Dr. Yasmine Fouad, Minister of Environment, said that the Egyptian government believes in the importance of women’s economic empowerment and gender equality, adding that the coming period will see coordination with EGX to increase percentage of listed companies committed to environmental controls and thanking them for their interest in supporting the process of women’s empowerment.
Dr. Maya Morsi, President of Egypt’s National Council for Women (NCW), said that fair representation of women in society supports the state’s efforts to achieve comprehensive economic and social development.
Beatrice Maser, Regional Director, MENA, International Finance Corporation (IFC), said “Empowering women is not only the right thing to do, it’s also a form of economic intelligence. Access to finance and high unemployment are key challenges facing women in Egypt and across the Middle East and North Africa. The private sector has a vital role to play in helping to bridge the gender gap, and we are working with our partners to help ensure equal gender opportunities across the region.”