KARACHI: The Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) celebrated the International Women’s Day with an elaborate gong ceremony held at the exchange, a statement said.
The event included women leaders, executives, professionals and eminent women from different walks of life, it added.
The PSX, along with UN Women, Women On Board (WOB), International Finance Corporation (IFC) and Pakistan Institute of Corporate Governance (PICG) marked the day by ringing the bell for gender equality.
PSX Chairperson Dr Shamshad Akhtar, said that the International Women’s Day is a UN global compact initiative that lifts the ambition surrounding SDG5 on gender equality and its reinforcing components from leadership to empowerment.
“In recent years, there is a growing recognition that nurturing the capital markets ecosystem can facilitate the financial inclusion process significantly. An untapped but high potential area, the capital markets ecosystem, if structured effectively, will have high payoffs in terms of reducing gender disparities,” she added.
“Companies need to be rewarded for gender-equitable hiring. At PSX, we encourage listed companies to report on ESG and SDG5 to promote gender equality and inclusivity.”
“We at the PSX look forward to working with Sustainable Stock Exchanges (SSE) Initiative, the World Federation of Exchanges’ (WFE) sustainability working group and with others to adopt gender equality goals and women empowerment efforts within the overarching ESG principles,” she said.
PSX Chief Executive Officer Farrukh H Khan said that the PSX is proud of the fact that it promotes inclusion of women in its workforce with more than 16 per cent employees comprising of women and more than 40 per cent of the direct reports to the CEO being women.
“The PSX promotes gender diversity and equality in listed companies, as well, whereby, for the PSX Top 25 Companies Awards 2021, the criteria set-out for winners includes the reporting on SDG of Gender Equality as part of the 6 minimum SDGs required for listed companies to report on,” Khan added.
IFC Principal Investment Officer Zunee Muhtashim informed that women hold just 5 per cent of CEO roles and around 20 per cent of board positions worldwide.
“We work with regulators and stock exchanges across emerging markets to encourage increased gender diversity at work and in leadership positions, and, ultimately, spur inclusive sustainable growth.”
“2022 marks our eighth year globally and fourth with the Pakistan Stock Exchange to promote women’s empowerment through the Ring the Bell for Gender Equality event,” she added.
WOB Co-Founder, Maryam Baqir said that the WOB is pleased to be at the forefront of building the memontum for an increasing role for the women on the Board table.
“The next evolution in this process is to build a solid pipeline of eligible female leaders to steer the Pakistani corporate sector to the next level,” she added.
PICG Chief Executive Officer Ahsan Jamil said that it is time to take greater affirmative action to get women on boards, adding that necessary exposure, training and support for women board members is a critical responsibility of the corporate.
“Tokenism must give way to active and real support, so more women enter and rise to board room challenges. This would go a long way in unlocking real value for all stakeholders, and help create pathways to a more balanced, inclusive, and humane society,” he added.
Jamil announced that PICG will provide a 50 per cent discount to all women participants in its Directors Training Programme for fiscal year 2022.
He advocated SDG 17 related to working in partnerships as critical to moving the needle on gender diversity and inclusion and cited the UN “HeForShe” campaign to enlist male role models who support women in the journey to gender equity.
The ceremony included striking of the gong led by PSX Chairperson Dr Shamshad Akhtar; State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Deputy Governor Sima Kamil; and distinguished women of the country from various fields ranging from banking, financial, entrepreneurial, and corporate sector to designing, medical, and legal professions.
The gong striking was followed by speeches by Dr Shamshad Akhtar; IFC Principal Investment Officer Zunee Muhtashim; Women On Board Co-Founder Maryam Baqir, and PICG Chief Executive Officer Ahsan Jamil.
A prominent part of the ceremony was a panel discussion followed by a Q&A session. Mementos were also presented to the participants of the event.