Bangladesh’s Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE) said it is committed to closing the gender gap, as the country remained the South Asian nation with the highest percentage of board slots for women.
New data showed there was an increase in the percentage of women who are independent directors on listed companies from 5% in 2020 to 6% last year, despite the impact of Covid-19, which has disproportionately affected women.
A 2020 study showed at the time about 18% of listed company board directors were women. While that has remained the same, Bangladesh still tops the South Asia region.
Tarique Amin Bhuiyan, DSE managing director, said the bourse remained fully committed to closing the gender gap and promoting women’s role in leadership, particularly in listed companies.
“Advancing women’s roles in companies will not only create a more diverse leadership team, but will also serve to help private sector companies create value, bring new ideas, boost transparency and promote inclusive growth,” he said.
Advancing Gender Equality
A new joint report, “How Exchanges Can Advance Gender Equality: Updated Guidance and Best Practice”, by the UN Sustainable Stock Exchanges (SSE) initiative and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) identify three broad areas where exchanges can play a role in advancing gender equality.
These include the promotion of gender-focused and/or gender-aware products and services, strengthening of market performance on gender equality and leading by example.
“Investing in women’s economic empowerment is both the right thing to do and the smart thing to do as it sets a direct path towards gender equality, poverty eradication and inclusive economic growth,” Gitanjali Singh, head of UN Women Bangladesh, said.
The report offers guidance on implementing gender-responsive action plans, such as supporting the listing of gender-focused financial instruments and addressing barriers to gender equality on boards and senior management.
Other guidance includes promoting increased transparency on gender performance through expanded environmental, social, and governance (ESG) disclosure, and setting gender targets for listed companies.
- George Russell