2017 INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY
WE AND PARTNER THEME: WOMEN AT WORK
On March 8th, hundreds of industry professionals and executives rallied at the Toronto Stock Exchange and NEO Exchange to open the stock markets in support of International Women's Day 2017. In its third year, the market opens are a part of Ring the Bell for Gender Equality initiative, which is a global partnership between Women in ETFs and UN Women, together with the Sustainable Stock Exchange Initiative, UN Global Compact, the IFC and the World Federation of Exchanges. The market open ceremonies raise awareness about the opportunities for the private sector to advance gender equality and sustainable development.
At the Toronto Stock Exchange, Tanya Rowntree, co-head of Women in ETFs’ Canada chapter and VP of Sales at TSX Trust Company, introduced powerful and inspiring keynote addresses delivered by Alina Polonskaia, head of Diversity at Mercer, and Catherine Reitman, creator and star of the CBC hit show Workin' Moms.
“Women are not equally represented as we move through the talent pipeline, we’ve come a long way in bringing awareness to the issue, but we still have far to go,” said Polonskaia.
Mercer’s current survey on gender diversity is the largest of its kind, representing 647 organizations in 42 countries. The survey covers 3.2 million employees (1.3 million of whom are women).
Catherine Reitman added that it was her own personal journey of competing against men in film that led to her creating Workin’ Moms.
“When coming up with the concept of a show that revolved around working mothers, I couldn’t believe that such a show hadn’t been created to date – about a portion of the population that is so normal and such a large part of what drives society, and yet, so under explored at the same time.”
The NEO Exchange opening centered around a panel discussion about “Women at Work,” which included Som Seif, founder and CEO, Purpose Investments, Carrie Kirkman, Chair, G(irls)20 and Mariefaye Bechrakis, Human Rights and Gender Equality Consultant, UN Global Compact, as well as Deborah Frame, co-head of Women in ETFs’ Canada chapter and President of Frame Global Asset Management. The panel discussion was moderated by Jos Schmitt, CEO of NEO Exchange, with a focus on empowering women in the workforce, dissecting current barriers to gender equality and enabling private sector solutions.
“Female leadership has shown to improve performance metrics while reducing volatility,” said Ms. Kirkman. “G20 leaders have previously acknowledged this fact, recognizing the economic benefit of investing in girls and women and the impact they can have on global growth. While we are dedicated to placing girls and young women in the career pipeline, we cannot do it alone.”
Following the discussion, Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa delivered an address that reinforced the importance of collaboration between government and the private sector to develop and support initiatives aimed at driving gender diversity today and into the future.
Building on NEO’s existing commitments as part of the Sustainable Stock Exchange Initiative, NEO was pleased to purchase 500 non-trading shares of G(irls)20 ‘stock’, representing an investment in girls and young women via education, entrepreneurship and global experiences. Ms. Kirkman accepted the cheque for $5,000 on behalf of G(irls)20, a Canadian-based globally active organization that exists to cultivate a new generation of female leaders.
Attendees at both events included over 100 representatives from all facets of the ETF industry, including leadership teams from Canada’s top ETF issuers, high profile industry influencers, members of the regulatory community and leaders of professional associations: CFA Society and others. The market open was featured on BNN and CTV. Alina Polonskaia was also interviewed for CTV News.