Belgrade Stock Exchange rings the bell for the first time for gender equality


March 14, 2019, Belgrade - For the fifth consecutive year, a global collaboration across more than 84 stock exchanges around the world plan to ‘Ring the Bell for Gender Equality’, to celebrate International Women’s Day 2019.

In the jubilee year, in which the Belgrade Stock Exchange celebrates 125th anniversary from its founding and 30 years of re-establishment, this global action is organized for the first time in Serbia today, in cooperation with the local network of the Global Compact.

In the previous week, opening or closing bells rang on over 80 stock markets on all continents, to highlight the key role of the business sector and financial markets in the economic empowerment of women. Corporate sector has a leading role in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, including the Goal No.5, aimed at achieving gender equality and eliminating all forms of discrimination against women. The World Economic Forum data indicate that, if current trends continue, it will take 108 years to overcome the existing gender economic gap. On the other hand, reducing the gap in the economic participation of women by one quarter by 2025 would lead to an increase in world GDP by $ 5.3 trillion.

Today's event gathered representatives of the Members of the Belgrade Stock Exchange and listed companies, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Serbian Chamber of Commerce, UN Women and the UN Global Compact, state institutions, the media and others.

Ms. Brankica Jankovic, the Commissioner for the Protection of Equality, spoke at the panel "Women's Contribution to the Economic Development of Serbia", organized after the bell-ringing ceremony. She pointed out that it is good to have stock exchanges ring for gender equality, that it is good to ring all the bells for the equality of women and men, because there is no prosperity and development of any society, even ours, if only half of his population participates in it. She pointed out that women in Serbia represent an unused potential and that, according to the data, twice as many men decide to start their own business. This speaks about unequal expectations that society has, but also about insufficiently expressed support for women to embark on entrepreneurship.

CEO of the Belgrade Stock Exchange, Siniša Krneta, emphasized that one of the fundamental principles which the Belgrade Stock Exchange is based on is the principle of equality, not only when market participants are concerned, but it is a principle that penetrates all aspects of stock market operations, promotes equal status and equal opportunities for all to achieve full potential, including the creation of a workplace in which behaviors, potentials and needs are equally valued, regardless of gender.

Jelena Milovanovic, Deputy Director of the UN Women's Office in Serbia, and Tijana Koprivica, Director of Sustainability of Delta Holding and members of the Managing Board of the Global Compact in Serbia addressed the participants. Delta Holding is one of the founders of the Alliance for Gender Equality, a network of companies that advocate for increasing the number of women in management and other places, equal opportunities for development and equal pay for the same work of women and men.

At the gathering it was pointed out that in the world women perform two thirds of the total working hours, and earn only 10% of global income. Regarding the position of women in management positions, women account for only 15% in management boards of world companies, and only 4% are in managerial positions. Data from the World Economic Forum show that women have equal access to financial services as men in only 60% of countries, and can equally own land in only 42% of the country. Empowering women in the workplace brings financial benefits to the private sector - research shows that companies that have more than one woman in the governing board earn an average of 3.7% more than those where there are no women at the place of decision making. Companies with at least 30% of women in managerial positions have a 6% higher profit.

It was concluded that it is time for companies and markets to intensify the change of their policies and practices by adopting concrete principles, measures and actions that contribute to the equality of women and the closure of the gender gap.

In support of this initiative and realization of Objective 5 of sustainable development, the CEO of the Belgrade Stock Exchange formally adopted seven global "Women Empowerment Principles".

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