IFC and Partners Ring the Bell for Women Empowerment in Egypt

CAIRO – PRN Africa — IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, the Egyptian Exchange, UN Women, Global Compact Network in Egypt, and the Egyptian Institute of Directors, are hosting a conference today to promote gender equality and increase women’s participation in Egypt’s economy.

The event, Ring the Bell for Gender Equality, brings together business leaders, investors, government officials, civil society members, and other key partners to highlight the business case for gender equality. IFC and partner organizations rang the opening bell at the Egyptian Exchange.

That was followed by speeches and a round-table discussion on the importance of women to Egypt’s economy. The event aims to raise awareness about the business case for women’s economic empowerment and the opportunities for the private sector to advance gender equality and sustainable development.

Mohamed Farid, Chairman of the Egyptian Exchange, said, “Empowering women is key to achieving inclusive growth and sustainable development, and we are committed to supporting women and enhancing their role in various political, economic, and social spheres.” He added that female representation on the boards of listed companies increased to 10.2 percent in 2018, up from 9.6 percent in 2017.

The event will also showcase the findings of a new IFC report found that Egyptian companies with gender-diverse boards outperformed those with all-male boards. The study, titled Women on Boards, found gender-diverse companies had higher profitability, less debt, improved governance policies, and a better employee retention rate than those run by men alone. They also showed 2 percent higher growth in return on equity, 4 percent higher growth in return on assets, and 5 percent higher growth in return on sales. Despite that, women hold only 14 percent of all board seats in Egypt.

“Women bring valuable expertise and important perspectives to companies, and their impact on the bottom line is undeniable,” said Walid Labadi, IFC Country Manager for Egypt, Libya and Yemen. “It’s time for more companies in Egypt to recognize that.”

Last year, a record 65 exchanges rang their bells for gender equality. Now, in its fifth iteration, a global collaboration across [66] stock exchanges around the world plan to ‘Ring the Bell for Gender Equality’, to celebrate International Women’s Day 2019 (Friday, 8 March 2019).

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 supported by Japan’s Ministry of Finance.

SOURCE International Finance Corporation (IFC)

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