Kyrgyzstan joins global "Ring the Bell for Gender Equality" movement

Date: Thursday, March 25, 2021

Kyrgyzstan joined others around the world to ‘Ring the Bell for Gender Equality’. Photo: UN Women/Askhat Chynaly
Kyrgyzstan joined others around the world to "Ring the Bell for Gender Equality". Photo: UN Women/Askhat Chynaly

Kyrgyzstan joined others around the world to "Ring the Bell for Gender Equality" on 16 March, with the Kyrgyz Stock Exchange (KSE) dedicated its opening ceremony of trading to an event headlined: The role of women in the development of business and economy of Kyrgyzstan.

The first-of-its-kind event aimed at raising awareness about the opportunities for the private sector to advance gender equality and sustainable development. During the session, participants discussed the role of women on board of directors and in the development of the country's business and economy.

Speaking at the event, the Chairperson of the State Service for Regulation and Supervision of the Financial Market of the Kyrgyz Republic, Arzybek Kozhoshev, noted the historical role of women in the country's economy.

“I remember when in the 90s’ we switched to a market economy, the male half of the Kyrgyzstan population was at a loss. Who took the burden of responsibility? Again, our women. Women started doing business, and not a simple shuttle business. During the first 10 years of independence in Kyrgyzstan, it was women who were the face of entrepreneurship, ”he said.

Manizha Mamadnabieva, the Head of the International Finance Corporation (IFC) in the Kyrgyz Republic, noted that gender equality plays a very important role, especially during the COVID-19 crisis. She noted that examples from global stock exchanges confirm that it is the companies with the best gender balance that are ahead of others on key indicators. “For IFC, ensuring gender equality is one of the priority tasks, and it is in line with our goal of attracting sustainable investment in developing countries, creating markets and opportunities,” she said. 

President of the Kyrgyz Stock Exchange, Medet Nazaraliev, noted that the KSE platform is always open for constructive dialogue. It seeks to draw the attention of government agencies and the business community to gender equality issues.

“I would also like to point out that in our stock market women run brokerage companies and many other companies. And we attach great importance to the role of women in the development of the financial sector of Kyrgyzstan, today, thanks to the observance of gender equality, women are successful in all sectors of the economy, ”he said.

Ulziisuren Jamsran, the UN Women Representative in Kyrgyzstan, noted that the time to act was now. “It's time not only to think, but to take into account all the decisions and arguments that are already being implemented by both women and men in order for companies to move faster and for the economy to quickly emerged from the pandemic crisis”. 

Ulziisuren Jamsran, the UN Women Representative in Kyrgyzstan. Photo: UN Women/Askhat Chynaly
Ulziisuren Jamsran, the UN Women Representative in Kyrgyzstan. Photo: UN Women/Askhat Chynaly

Meerim Askarbekova, a member of the board of directors of Kyrgyz Stock Exchange, spoke about the role of women in the stock market. Meanwhile, an expert on the green economy, Nurzat Abdyrasulova, discussed the contribution of women to the development of energy and environmental conservation in Kyrgyzstan. The founder of the Women's Entrepreneurship Development Fund, Asel Kubanychbekova, also gave an overview of women's entrepreneurship in Kyrgyzstan. In addition, Yulia Kholodkova, coordinator of the IFC Sustainable Social and Governance Practices Programme, spoke about the benefits of having women on directors’ boards.

The event was created through a partnership between the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Sustainable Stock Exchanges (SSE) Initiative, the UN Global Compact, UN Women, Women in ETFs, and the World Federation of Stock Exchanges.

Through this event, Kyrgyzstan joined the Women's Empowerment Principles global initiative. The initiative is currently supported by over 4,000 companies worldwide.

This global initiative has seven principles that enable companies to integrate practices into daily business processes, and incorporate aspects of gender equality. The practical experience of the exchange joining the Women's Empowerment Principles (WEP) principles should become an effective example for other companies for their stable and sustainable development.