KARACHI - Pakistan Stock Exchange, for the second year in a row, commemorated the International Women's Day in a befitting manner. This time, PSX gave its floor to three leading gender diversity promoting organizations - UN Women, World Bank and Women on Board Pakistan, to perform the "Ring the Bell" ceremony. 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, Rahat Kaunain Hassan of WOB Pakistan, Sultana Siddiqui, Shazia Syed, Sabrina Dawood and Elin Burns, UK's Deputy High Commissioner in Karachi.

Each of these leading women professionals, together with 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.

Addressing the ceremony, 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.

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 25percent gender parity on the corporate boards in Pakistan by 2025.

The opening session was initiated by Richard Morin, MD PSX, wherein he highlighted his own vision for a better gender balance within PSX.

He also emphasized the need of developing a pipeline of good female corporate executives so that women are able to command a better proportion of board and top leadership positions on Pakistani corporate.