The United Nations, International Finance Corporation, Global Compact Nepal,and Nepal Stock Exchanges partnered to jointly organize the third “Ring the Bell for Gender Equality”—an annual global event that highlights how the private sector can spur women's participation in the global economy and promote sustainable development. The focus of the event this year is onpromotion of gender equality in the technology and innovation sector.
By expediting gender equality, emerging and frontier markets stand to gain significant economic, environmental, social, and governance benefits. The Sustainable Stock Exchanges Initiative reports that if women were to fully engage in formal labor markets, the global gross domestic product (GDP) would surge by $28 trillion.
The event kicked off with the UN Resident Coordinator designate of Nepal, Ms. Hanaa Singer-Hamdy, Chairperson of the Securities Board of Nepal Mr. Ramesh Kumar Hamal, Head of Office of the UN Women Nepal Ms. Navnita Sinha, Senior Asia ESG Advisory Leadof the IFC Nepal Ms. Kate Lazarus,Deputy Head of Cooperation, of the European Union in Nepal Ms. Eloisa Astudillo Fernandez, and Ms. Sulochana Shrestha Shah, Founding President, Global Compact Nepaljointly ringing the symbolic bell of the Nepal Stock Exchange.
Speaking at the event, the UN Resident Coordinator designate of NepalMs. Hanaa Singer Hamdy said “Gender equality is a central force for realising the transformative promise of Agenda 2030, and women’s economic empowerment is both an enabler and prerequisite to make this promise a reality. As societies become increasingly dependent on digital technology, our sisters in Nepal face the risk of losing out on the promise of full participation in digital economies. We must bridge the digital divide, increase women’s digital and financial literacy, increase their access to finance and promote safe digital spaces.”
Under the UN Women’s theme for International Women’s Day this year: “DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality,” the event was organized to spotlight the need for and importance of women involvement in digital finance for advancement in gender equality and achieve the SDGs.
"Empowering women to participate fully in the economy is not only the right thing to do, it is also smart business. By accelerating gender equality, emerging markets can unlock tremendous economic, environmental, social, and governance gains. At IFC, we are committed to supporting initiatives that promote gender parity," said Kate Lazarus, Senior Asia ESG Advisory Lead of the IFC Nepal. “It's truly heartening to witness the dedication of private sector in Nepal, as shown by the 19 power companies that are working with IFC's Powered by Women initiative to create a level playing field."
The event was organized to highlight the pivotal role the private sector can play in gender equality and women’s empowerment, to motivate women to engage in finance and to raise awareness among Nepali companies on the Women Empowerment Principles (WEPs).
“It is our great pleasure to be a part of gender equality initiation taken in the global level. NEPSE is aware and is actively participating with different awareness programs and models for women’s participation in the capital markets. NEPSE is strongly determined to come forward with activities which assures the gender equality and fair participation of women in the capital market” said Krishna Bahadur Karki, Chief Executive Officer, NEPSE.
Speaking at the event, the Deputy Head of EU in Nepal shed light on the significance of digitation for financial inclusion in Nepal. Likewise speakers of the Panel Discussion highlighted barriers that women face in investing in accessing finance such as attitudinal constrains, family obligation, gender stereotypes, infrastructural problems,and the need to create digital technology that responds to the need of women.
"It is important that private sector companies learn about Women's Empowerment Principles (WEPs) as they provide a framework to implement policies and practices that support gender equality. Ring the Bell 2023 introduces WEPs to a lot of private sector companies in Nepal. As of March 2023, there are 23 WEPs signatories in Nepal; we aim to at least double WEPs signatories within the next 12 months." said Pradeep Man Vaidya, President, Global Compact Nepal
Ring the Bell is a collaboration of stock exchanges around the world ringing opening or closing bells to celebrate International Women’s Day and promote the Women's Empowerment Principles (WEPs). In Nepal the initiative was a partnership between Global Compact Nepal (GCN), UN Women, International Finance Corporation (IFC), Nepal Stock Exchange (NEPSE) and UN Resident Coordinator Office to raise awareness about the opportunities for the private sector to advance gender equality and sustainable development.This year, a record 120 exchanges have participated in these events worldwide, from less than 10 exchanges in 2015.