Zagreb, March 8, 2021 - Zagreb Stock Exchange is once again among more than 100 world stock exchanges where the beginning of trading on the occasion of International Women's Day was marked by the symbolic sound of bells.
The bell was rung by Ivana Gažić, President of the Management Board of the Zagreb Stock Exchange, Damir Zorić, General Manager of the Croatian Employers' Association, and Stjepan Orešković, PhD.
On that occasion, key messages were sent out regarding the position of women, especially about the role that the business and financial sector can play in the empowerment of women as an important global goal of sustainable development.
Ivana Gažić, President of the Management Board of the Zagreb Stock Exchange, said: We are extremely pleased to be in the company of more than 90 world stock exchanges for the fourth time in a row, which open trading on the occasion of International Women's Day with the symbolic sound of the stock exchange bell. I believe it is important to nurture its commemoration as one good reason to ask ourselves every year what the status of women is in our society and what progress has been made in the last year. The representation of women in the management boards of companies whose securities are listed on the Zagreb Stock Exchange is still at low levels of approximately 18%, and the number of CEOs is twice as low, and this percentage has been stagnant for years. Unfortunately, these figures are entirely in line with world statistics: globally, women occupy only 17% of the seats on company boards. In 2020, Croatia had 57.8 points in the Gender Equality Index calculated by the European Institute for Gender Equality. Every year the situation is slightly better, but we are still far from the European average of 67.9 points. According to this index, gender inequalities are most pronounced in the domain of power, which measures gender equality in decision-making positions in the political, economic and social spheres.
In order to contribute to change in this area, together with the Croatian Financial Services Supervisory Agency, we have introduced a provision in our common corporate governance code that states that listed companies must set a target percentage of female members on the supervisory and management board to be achieved in the following years. five years. The target should be published in an annual report, along with an explanation of why it was selected and a plan setting out how it will be achieved.
Investors are looking for a greater balance in corporate governance and are increasingly sensitive to the issue. And it shows the extent to which the world is changing. Some projections say the overall global gender gap will close in 60, while some say only in 99.5 years. These figures are devastating and we want to contribute to their reduction.
Women do not need privileges but an environment that will allow them to fulfill their full potential, from which the whole community can benefit.
Croatian Employers' Association Director General Damir Zorić added: With this year's Ring the Bell for Gender Equality event, we call for the empowerment of women in the business world and especially for greater representation of women in key decision-making positions. If we want a healthy and prosperous society, we urgently need greater involvement of women in public and social life. It is an imperative of the time, it is a civilizational acquis and a practice, and Croatia must move in that direction. Encouraged by last year's courageous statements of our employees, HUP is more determined than ever to loudly advocate for gender equality, inclusiveness and equality, and strongly condemn any form of violence and abuse. Through the Target Gender Equality program, which continues this year as well, and through other initiatives, we continue with activities to encourage positive change.
The event was co-organized by the Croatian Employers' Association and the Global Compact Network Croatia, as well as the Zagreb Stock Exchange as part of the global event Ring the Bell for Gender Equality.
For the seventh year in a row, the Ring the Bell for Gender Equality was held in many countries around the world to draw attention to the important role of the business sector in promoting gender equality, in order to achieve sustainable development goals and raise awareness of women's empowerment. The global event is organized by the UN Global Compact with UN Women, the Sustainable Stock Exchanges Initiative (SSE), the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the World Federation of Exchanges (WFE).
The UN Global Compact, a United Nations initiative for sustainable development, has 15,000 members, of which over 12,500 are from the business sector, in 160 countries and local networks in more than 85 countries, making it the largest sustainable development initiative in the world. The Croatian Global Compact Network is managed by the Croatian Employers' Association, strengthening the activities of the Croatian business sector in the field of sustainability and socially responsible business, promoting 10 UNGC principles and 17 global goals.
The Zagreb Stock Exchange, as one of around 90 global stock exchanges that have joined this initiative, seeks to support efforts to strengthen awareness of the role that the business and financial sector can play in achieving this important global goal of sustainable development.