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IFC and Partners Ring the Bell for Gender Equality in Yangon

Yangon, Myanmar – WEBWIRE

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, the Securities and Exchange Commission of Myanmar (SECM) and the Yangon Stock Exchange (YSX) joined 70 stock exchanges around the world today to ‘Ring the Bell for Gender Equality’ to celebrate International Women’s Day 2019. The event brought together business leaders, investors, civil society members, and other key partners to highlight the business case for gender equality.

Fifty-two percent of Myanmar’s population comprises women. While a significant number of businesses in the country are set up and led by women, only 59 percent of women aged over 15 participate in employment, compared to 84 percent of men. Myanmar ranks 106 out of 160 countries on the Gender Inequality Index. 

HE Andrea Faulkner, the Australian Ambassador to Myanmar, said, “The evidence is clear. If you want to maximize your business’s potential, involve women at all levels. They are your leaders, your entrepreneurs, and your peers. Their professional skills and deep market understanding will help your businesses truly thrive.” 

Women’s representation in Myanmar boards is low. An upcoming SECM, YSX, Directorate of Investment and Company Administration and IFC report on the corporate governance practices of companies in Myanmar found that around 72 percent of the boards surveyed had between five and 15 members, and each board, on average, had two female directors, while 22 percent had none. 

“Having more women on boards promotes women’s economic participation and is good for business,” said Vikram Kumar, IFC Country Manager for Myanmar and Thailand. “An IFC report on board diversity in the East Asia and the Pacific reconfirmed that in the region a greater number of women on boards and in senior management positions go hand in hand with firm financial performance.” 

The Yangon Stock Exchange participated in the ‘Ring the Bell for Gender Equality’ event for the third consecutive year. The event also featured a panel discussion on ‘Think equal, build smart, innovate for change.’ Panelist Ma Cherry Trivedi, CEO of the Myanmar Institute of Directors, advised women to embrace their careers and stop feeling guilty for not subscribing to society’s expectations of women’s roles. “What I need to do as a woman is to look at what I want from life. I would not let my environment make that choice for me,” she said. 

IFC’s support for gender-smart business solutions includes working with companies in developing countries to generate opportunities for women that also contribute to bottom-line benefits. The institution leverages its relationship with over 2,000 financial institutions and private equity funds to expand access to finance for female entrepreneurs. It also promotes good corporate-governance practices such as board diversity. 

About IFC 
IFC—a sister organization of the World Bank and member of the World Bank Group—is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. We work with more than 2,000 businesses worldwide, using our capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities in the toughest areas of the world. In fiscal year 2018, we delivered more than $23 billion in long-term financing for developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit 

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