Ahead of International Women’s Day on March 8 and the 20th Anniversary of the 1995 Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, the Istanbul Stock Exchange (Borsa Istanbul) hosted an opening bell ceremony on March 6 in support of gender equality and women’s economic empowerment.
The ceremony was organized in cooperation with the U.N. Women, U.N. Global Compact and the Sustainable Stock Exchanges (SSE) Initiative. It was attended by U.N. Women Regional Director for Europe
and Central Asia and Representative to TurkeyIngibjörg Gísladóttir, Sabancı Holding Chair Güler Sabancı, U.N. Global Compact Turkey Chairman Dr. Yılmaz Argüden, and Borsa Istanbul Acting CEO Hüseyin Zafer, as well as leading Turkish businesswomen including Hürriyet Gazetecilik Chairperson Vuslat Doğan Sabancı.
Sare Davutoğlu, the wife of Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, sent a message to be read at the event, celebrating all women on International Women’s Day and wishing for a world with no discrimination in cultural, economic and political life.
The event was part of a global initiative of events under the name “Ring the Bell for Gender Equality” hosted by the Bombay Stock Exchange, the Egyptian Stock Exchange, the Nasdaq, the Nigeria Stock Exchange, the Santiago Stock Exchange, the Stockholm Stock Exchange and the Warsaw Stock Exchange, as well as Borsa Istanbul.
Speaking in Istanbul, Gísladóttir underlined the importance of the increasing role of women in economic life.
“We see more women CEOs, engineers, scientists, doctors or factory workers today, but the limitations over the full and equal participation of women into the labor force remain. Women are also affected disproportionally by abuse and discrimination in their workplaces,” she said.
“The more women participate in the economy, the more economies will grow,” she added.
James Zhan said the United Nations was working on developing studies about maximizing the benefits of international investments for making women’s lives easier and minimizing risks.
Güler Sabancı said the participation of women in the labor force is “more than a human right.” “It is also a right economic decision. All studies show that organizations that give more women a voice in decision-making processes are more successful than others. In this vein, we should all heed the call by Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan for giving women more places on the boards of publicly-offered companies,” Sabancı said.
She added she was glad to be a member of Sabancı Holding, the first Turkish company to sign the U.N.’s “Women Empowerment Principles” (WEPs).