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Ring the bell for gender equality 2021

Tbilisi, Georgia, March 11, 2021— IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, the Georgian Stock Exchange and Global Compact Network Georgia joined over 100 stock exchanges around the world to “Ring the Bell for Gender Equality”—an initiative linked with International Women’s Day that highlights the link between gender equality, sustainability, and inclusive growth in a post-COVID-19 future.

Global research shows that female talent is among the least utilized economic resources in the world and the pandemic is worsening the situation. Globally, female job-loss rates resulting from COVID-19 are about 1.8 times higher than male job-loss rates. Making even small inroads in closing the global gender gap could quickly yield strong results, increasing global gross domestic product by $12 trillion by 2025, according to a McKinsey Global Institute report.

In Georgia, the labor participation rate over the past 10 years has hovered between 62 percent to 67 percent for men and 42 percent to 46 percent for women, pointing to significant gender differences in entering the labor market, according to the National Statistics Office of Georgia. Gender differences in wages remain significant, as women earn less than two-thirds the average monthly salary of men.

Nino Kurdiani, Chief Financial Officer of the Georgian Stock Exchange, said: “The role of the Georgian Stock Exchange is to promote a level playing field for all its listed companies and does not allow any kind of discrimination, including gender discrimination. Growth in women’s participation is important not only for women empowerment but also for the steady, robust growth of companies that it fosters, which boosts the economy as a whole. We believe it is important to deliver this message to companies.”

Salome Zurabishvili, Executive Director of Global Compact Network Georgia, said: “Now, more than ever, business actions towards women’s economic empowerment is crucial for the swift and sustainable recovery of market economies worldwide. The Women’s Empowerment Principles adopted by the UN Global Compact and UN Women are a tool that will assist the business sector in its efforts and will facilitate collaborative measures in support of women’s empowerment in the workplace, marketplace, and the community.”

Thea Gigiberia, IFC Georgia Country representative, said: “Economies that reduce barriers to women in the workplace boost growth. Organizations that fail to address their gender gaps risk getting left behind.

As the economic and social consequences of COVID-19 continue to impact more women, it will be critical to narrow the gender gap as it will help reduce lost economic opportunities.”

IFC is working with the private sector and international development partners to prevent gender gaps accentuated by the pandemic from widening, including committing $8 billion to sustain businesses and preserve jobs and $4 billion for a global health platform. IFC also is providing guidance to companies on equitable crisis response and recovery, and prioritizing gender balance in its own investments. Women currently represent 49 percent of IFC nominee directors on client company boards, ahead of reaching the corporate target of 50 percent in 2030.

The Ring the Bell event in Georgia has been supported by the Swedish Government and  IFC’s Environmental, Social, and Governance Advisory Services Program in Europe and Central Asia, which is implemented in partnership with the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs SECO.

The 2021 Ring the Bell events mark the seventh year of a partnership that includes IFC, the World Federation of Exchanges, the Sustainable Stock Exchanges (SSE) Initiative, United Nations Global Compact, UN Women, and Women in ETFs. It is designed to raise awareness about the business case for women’s economic empowerment and opportunities for the private sector to advance gender equality and sustainable development.