The ‘Gong Ceremony’ was held to express solidarity with the cause of promoting women inclusiveness and mainstreaming in the business world.
On behalf of the participating organizations, the “Ring the Bell” Gong ceremony was performed by Jamshed Kazi of UN Women, Ms. Rahat Kaunain Hassan of WOB Pakistan, Ms. Sultana Siddiqui of Hum TV, Ms. Shazia Syed of Unilever Pakistan, Ms. Sabrina Dawood of Dawood Foundation and Ms. Elin Burns, UK’s Deputy High Commissioner in Karachi. Each of these leading women professionals, together with Mr. Jamshed Kazi, Richard Morin and Aftab Ahmad, took turns to open the market with one Gong hit each, underscoring the objective of achieving a perfect gender balance in the economic, business, and commerce sectors of the country. The Gong ceremony is also a symbolic activity to pronounce the opening of the market on special occasions including as International Women’s Day.
It may be mentioned that each year, a large number of stock exchanges across the World, dedicate a day for such events during the month of March to mark their solidarity for the cause of greater gender inclusiveness in the listed sector. The tradition of holding of opening bell ringing ceremonies at the global stock exchanges by women activists started about four years ago to coincide with the International Women’s Day, and to highlight the business case for enhanced economic opportunities for women. PSX joins over 65 global stock exchanges who this International Women’s Day hosted a bell ringing ceremony to raise awareness of the pivotal role the private sector can play in advancing gender equality to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 5.
Addressing the ceremony, Ms Shazia Syed said that although leadership has no gender, but women’s influence on the lives of every child makes it clear that women have a lasting impact in the emergence of leaders. Ms. Rahat Kaunain Hassan, stated that, “WOB aims at affording the corporate world the opportunity to benefit from the experience of those who have demonstrated the resolve and commitment to progress against odds. The WOB agenda is the empowerment of the corporate sector in national economy, not women alone.”
Jamshed Kazi said, “Stock exchanges are uniquely placed to promote gender equality through transparent and efficient capital markets that generate long-term value for both women and men. In addition to leading by example through their own operations, stock exchanges can influence investor and company behaviour, help enforce compliance with pro-women legal frameworks and support regulators in promoting the adoption of market standards equally, for everyone.”
Aftab Ahmad shared the statistics of the current gender representation on listed corporate Boards, and said that WOB’s objective is to have at least 25% gender parity on the corporate boards in Pakistan by 2025.
Published in Daily Times, March 9th 2018.