In commemoration of the International Women’s Day, Rwanda Stock Exchange (RSE) joined with counterparts around the world to ring the market bell to draw attention to the critical role that business and markets can play in tackling gender inequalities.
Done to mark the International Women’s Day, the bell ringing event aimed at obtaining tangible commitments from stock exchanges, market regulator among other players to advance gender equality, promote increased female representation in boardrooms and growing the pipeline of female talent to ascend to top positions in their markets.
According to RSE officials, the participation of Rwandan women on the country’s stock market is good; and there is no visible difference between the activity of the ladies and that of their male counterparts, and if they do better, there will be more benefit to the economy.
The bell ringing event held in Kigali saw the RSE join with over 90 stock exchanges in other parts of the world who also took part in similar events, alongside the International Finance Corporation, Sustainable Stock Exchanges initiative, United Nations Global Compact, UN Women, World Federation of Exchanges, and Women in ETFs.
In an interview with media, Pierre Celestin Rwabukumba, the Chief Executive Officer of Rwanda Stock Exchange said that the Rwandan women are doing well on the stock market where, out of the four private companies on the Rwandan stock market, two are led by women.
He however lamented the barriers that hinder women in general business life, work and income,
“It is evident that in commercial activities and business in the world economy, women still face a big challenge. In this event we are sensitising people about among other things, the importance of women in private sector leadership positions, so that they will pay attention to it,” he said.
Citing a 2018 World Bank report that said the global economy might be losing 160 trillion US Dollars of wealth due to gender inequalities, Rwabukumba said that gender imbalances “greatly affect” economies.
Women currently have 29 (5.8 per cent) CEO positions at the S&P 500 companies; hold 16.9 per cent of board seats globally, and only 4.4 per cent of global CEO and board chair positions.
Speaking at the bell ringing event, Fatou Lo the United Nations Women Representative in Rwanda called for “bold, ambitious, inclusive and urgent action” for advancing gender equality.
This year’s International Women’s Day 2020 was marked under the theme “I am Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights”. The theme is aligned with UN Women’s new multigenerational global flagship campaign, Generation Equality.
A 2019 report by McKinsey said that currently, women account for more than 50 per cent of Africa’s population but in 2018 they generated only 33 per cent of the continent’s collective Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
The report said that the continent could add $316 billion to their GDP growth by 2025 if all countries matched the progress towards gender equality of their best performing neighbour.