The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, targets to increase women’s participation on its board globally to hit 50% within the next three to five years, Yehia El Husseiny, a corporate governance projects manager in the Middle East and North Africa at the IFC told Daily News Egypt.
He explained that now the representation of women on the IFC onboard is 35%.
Notably, the IFC, the Egyptian Exchange, UN Women, the Global Compact Network in Egypt, and the Egyptian Institute of Directors, hosted a conference on Monday to promote gender equality and increase women’s participation in Egypt’s economy.
The event, ‘Ring the Bell for Gender Equality’, brought together business leaders, investors, government officials, civil society members, and other key partners to highlight the business case for gender equality. The IFC and partner organisations rang the opening bell at the Egyptian Exchange (EGX).
Subsequently, speeches and a round-table discussion followed discussing the importance of women in Egypt’s economy. The event aimed to raise awareness around the business case for women’s economic empowerment and the opportunities for the private sector to advance gender equality and sustainable development.
Mohamed Farid, the chairperson of the EGX, said, “Empowering women is key to achieving inclusive growth and sustainable development, and we are committed to supporting women and enhancing their role in various political, economic, and social spheres.” He added that female representation on the boards of listed companies increased to 10.2% in 2018, up from 9.6% in 2017.
The event also showcased the findings of a new IFC report which revealed that Egyptian companies with gender-diverse boards outperformed those with all-male boards.
“Women bring valuable expertise and important perspectives to companies, and their impact on the bottom line is undeniable,” said Walid Labadi, the IFC country manager for Egypt, Libya and Yemen. “It is time for more companies in Egypt to recognise that,” he stressed.
Last year, a record 65 exchanges rang their bells for gender equality. Currently in its fifth iteration, a global collaboration across 66 stock exchanges worldwide plan to ‘Ring the Bell for Gender Equality’, to celebrate International Women’s Day 2019, on Friday, 8 March 2019.
The event is part of the IFC’s corporate governance programme in the Middle East and North Africa, which aims to help local firms operate more efficiently and improve access to capital. The programme is supported by Japan’s Ministry of Finance.