IFC Joins Colombo Stock Exchange to ‘Ring the Bell’ for Gender Equality in Sri Lanka

Colombo, Sri Lanka, March 9, 2017—IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and Sri Lanka Institute of Directors (SLID) joined the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) yesterday to ring the opening bell for trading to raise awareness on the need for gender equality in Sri Lanka.

Marking International Women’s Day, the “Ring the Bell for Gender Equality” event is part of an IFC-driven initiative across 43 stock exchanges worldwide to highlight the private sector’s role in spurring women’s participation in the economy.

“This initiative is a call for gender equality and also for business efficiency. It is quite relevant that over 40 stock exchanges globally support this initiative, as we have a strong responsibility to create an environment for the involvement of women in our respective markets. It is important that such empowerment reaches out to women in all walks of society, whether it be women on boards, a woman starting a small business, or school-children aspiring to be the leaders of tomorrow,” said Vajira Kulatilaka, Chairman of CSE.

The private sector is increasingly recognizing that advancing gender equality through business operations and value chains means better talent, higher productivity, more customers, and a stronger bottom-line. However, there is still a long way to go

“When a woman is empowered, the whole economy and the whole community benefit,” said Charlotte Blundell, Australian Counsellor for Development Cooperation, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. “By working together, we can create countries in which women are respected, represented, have a strong voice, are financially and economically secure, and are safe from violence. As business leaders, you have a vital role to play.”

IFC believes that women—as consumers, employees, business leaders, and entrepreneurs—have the potential to transform the global economy, supporting job creation, raising per-capita incomes, and promoting sustainable development. IFC works with companies in developing countries to generate opportunities for women while contributing to companies’ bottom-lines, productivity, and growth.

“No society can develop sustainably without transforming the distribution of opportunities, resources, and choices for males and females so that they have equal power to shape their own lives and contribute to their families, communities, and countries,” said Idah Z. Pswarayi-Riddihough, World Bank Country Director for Sri Lanka and Maldives.

By leveraging relationships with about 1,000 financial institutions and private equity funds, IFC helps expand access to finance for women entrepreneurs. Almost 30 percent of IFC nominee directors are women. IFC’s South Asia Regional Corporate Governance Project, implemented with donor support from Japan’s Ministry of Finance, provides training to encourage more women participation on boards.

Now in its third year, “Ring the Bell for Gender Equality” event series is a partnership of IFC, Sustainable Stock Exchanges (SSE) Initiative,the UN Global Compact,UN Women, Women in ETFs, and the World Federation of Stock Exchanges.

About IFC

As a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. Working with 2,000 businesses worldwide, we use our six decades of experience to create opportunity where it’s needed most. In FY16, our long-term investments in developing countries rose to nearly $19 billion, leveraging our capital, expertise and influence to help the private sector end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.

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