Celebrating International Women’s Day: EGX hosts “Ring the Bell for Gender Equality”

Monday, 13 March 2023


On Wednesday, March 8th, 2023, The Egyptian Exchange (EGX) celebrated the International Women’s Day with an opening of trading ceremony in the presence of Dr. Mohamed Farid, Chairman of the Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA), Mr. Rami El-Dokany, Executive Chairman of the Egyptian Exchange (EGX), and H.E. Hokan Emsjord, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Sweden. A number of leaders of international development organizations took part in the event, including Ms. Yasmine El-Haini, Acting Country Director for Egypt at the International Finance Corporation (IFC) – a member of the World Bank Group, Ms. Christine Arab, Representative of the United Nations Women in Egypt, and Ms. Walaa El-Husseini, Executive Director of the Egyptian Network of the United Nations Global Compact, Parliament members; Dr. Ghada Ali and Dr. Ayat El-Haddad, and female members of EGX’s Board of Directors. 

The Egyptian Exchange (EGX), in cooperation with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), The World Federation of Exchanges (WFE), the United Nations Women, the United Nations Sustainable Stock Exchanges Initiative (SSE), and Global Compact Egypt, with the support of the Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA), held the “Ring the Bell for Gender Equality”; an annual event that EGX is keen to host annually. This is the ninth year in a row for EGX to participate in this worldwide celebration with the aim of encouraging Egyptian private sector to create more opportunities for women. 

Mr. Rami El-Dokany, Executive Chairman of the Egyptian Exchange (EGX), honored/celebrated a number of active female professionals and leaders in EGX and capital market, in recognition and appreciation for their efforts, dedication to work and positive impact during their distinguished career.

Dr. Mohamed Farid, Chairman of the Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA), said that FRA’s participation, in this celebration reflects its commitment to take all necessary measures for the improvement of women’s economic empowerment, as well as to strive towards bridging the gender gap, by unleashing Egyptian women capabilities to play a greater role in achieving the goals of economic and social development plans, through FRA’s initiated and applied policies, programs and decrees to achieve that goal in the non-banking financial sector.

Dr. Farid added that the biggest challenge for women empowerment is creating appropriate work environment for their development to make the best possible use of their expertise and competence. FRA is actively working on that through training promising female professionals to increase their impact in economic activities.  

FRA Chairman added that international organizations studies ensure that the fair representation of women on the companies’ boards of directors contributes to improve companies’ Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s). According to the International Finance Corporation (IFC) of the World Bank Group, bridging the social and economic gaps between men and women would help improving business, stimulating economic growth, and improving the lives of families and communities. Adding that FRA is coordinating with the American University in Cairo (AUC) to build a database of qualified female professionals in several business domains in order to bridge the gap between the labor market and qualified females. 

He also referred to the measures taken by FRA to support women empowerment in the non-banking financial sector, as FRA obliged companies operating in non-banking financial activities and listed companies to have female representation of at least 25% of their board of directors. 

Dr. Farid pointed out the keenness to develop women’s capabilities through training, as the Egyptian Directors Center – the training arm of FRA – designed and implemented a training program for female professionals called “Certified Board Member” in cooperation with the International Finance Corporation (IFC). Graduates are qualified to assume positions as board members in companies working in the non-banking financial services.

Mr. Rami El-Dokany, Executive Chairman of the Egyptian Exchange (EGX), said that the celebration of International Women’s Day reflects the commitment of EGX to support the effective participation and economic empowerment of women, specially in financial markets and among listed companies aiming to bridge the gender gap as part of the framework of the National Strategy for the Egyptian Women Empowerment 2030 approved by the Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, in 2017, within women’s economic empowerment section, which targets to develop women capacities to achieve equal work opportunities and for them to have more and better options. 

EGX’s Executive Chairman added that increasing female representation within companies’ boards of directors and top management enriches diversity, which improves companies’ performance and reflects positively on profitability on the long term.

Rami El-Dokany stressed that EGX, in coordination with all concerned parties, will spare no effort to take all possible and necessary measures to unleash Egyptian women capabilities to play a greater role in achieving the goals of economic and social development plans. 

EGX’s Executive Chairman, directing his speech to Dr. Mohamed Farid, said:  “The Egyptian Exchange is your home and will remain your home. We are your team to achieve the ambitious vision to develop non-banking financial activities.”

El-Dokany explained that empowering women requires developing the work environment to accommodate to their requirements, as well as motivating women to increase their participation in the labor market.

EGX’s efforts resulted in an increase in the percentage of listed companies that have at least one woman on their board of directors to 93%, and the percentage reached 100% in the companies listed on small and medium-sized companies market.

Yasmine El Heny, Acting Country Director for Egypt at IFC, said: “Egypt has made tremendous progress in improving gender equality in recent years, and in order to continue efforts to close the gender gap, IFC is focusing on improving women’s access to better and more job opportunities – and to provide financial and non-financial support, to help develop and expand their projects.

Ms. Christine Arab, Representative of the United Nations Women in Egypt, highlighted that closing the gender digital gap is critical to achieve gender equality adding that the tech world needs collaborative solutions to break the systemic challenges women face in designing, working in, and using digital technology, and to improve online safety for children, adolescent girls and boys, and women. Ms. Arab also pointed out that the inclusion of women and girls in the digital world could potentially prevent a loss of $1.5 trillion by 2025 in low- and middle-income countries. In Egypt, which has a high number of women STEM graduates, more support is needed to get these women into the workplace in these sectors, and to enhance support of their role in the home so as to ensure that they can remain in the STEM sectors. At the same time, if women cannot access the internet or feel safe online, they will have fewer options to improve their digital skills and to benefit from the diverse opportunities offered by information and communication technology (ICT) tools. “UN Women Egypt is proud to be an annual partner in “Ring the Bell for Gender Equality” together with EGX and partners where together we reiterate our commitment in partnership with Government, private sector, academia and development organizations to enhance women’s employability and entrepreneurship skills in line with the digital transformation that the world is witnessing. Globally and in Egypt, the digital divide has become the new face of gender inequality, and it takes diverse and committed partnerships like this to ensure we change this.” Ms. Christine added.

Walaa Al-Husseini, Executive Director of the Egyptian Network for the United Nations Global Compact, said that women empowerment a multilateral effort, and there is still a lot that new technology can provide to empower women in various fields.

She added that UN Global Compact in Egypt has launched the Gender Equality Accelerator, a program that is presented through a digital platform, where participating companies train for a period of 9 months on means and tools to empower women in the work environment, including policies, systems, experience exchange from similar models, an analysis of the current situation and an action plan with its requirements. In 2022, 6 institutions participated, including 3 of the largest listed companies on EGX. The program will be launched this year and more companies will be invited to join. Close cooperation will also take place with all partners to bring about a more impactful change during the next year.

The “Ring the Bell 2023” events mark the ninth year of partnership between IFC and stock exchanges globally, and 123 stock exchanges from around the world are participating in the “Ring the Bell for Gender Equality” event this year. IFC works with regulators and stock exchanges in emerging markets to promote greater gender diversity in leadership positions.