The first “Ring the Bell for Gender Equality” in Indonesia to celebrate the International Women’s Day, brought together representatives from the public and private sector to support the promotion of gender equality and women’s economic empowerment in the business sector. The bell ringing ceremony to raise awareness on the key role of the private sector in accelerating progress for gender equality was organized by Indonesia Global Compact Network (IGCN), UN Women and Indonesia Business Coalition for Women Empowerment (IBCWE), on 13 March 2019 and hosted by Indonesia Stock Exchange.
Addressing the importance of gender equality in workplace, marketplace and community, Mr. Paul Polman Vice Chair, UN Global Compact and SDG Advocates, United Nations and H.E. Sri Mulyani Indrawati, Minister Finance of the Republic of Indonesia took part in this event and delivered keynotes. Ring the Bell for Gender Equality is a worldwide movement initiated by UN Women, UN Global Compact, UN Sustainable Stock Exchange Initiative and other respective partners as an effort to improve gender equality in business sector. This year, there are already more than 70 stock exchanges out of registered 83 around the world hosted the bell ringing ceremony.
Paul Polman stated in his speech, “We do need private sector to support gender equality. The opportunity to perform are for everybody. There are no reason, women and men should have the same rights and we need to find equal rights in all country anywhere. Now, gender equality performance increasing in business sector. Companies have more gender balance in their workplace. With collaboration between private sectors, gender equality organizations and government we can support this equality to implement.
Supporting to Polman’s statement, Minister Sri Mulyani who stressed the importance of gender equality said, “Gender equality and ringing the bell, is not only about women, or political matters. This is an issue which is fundamentally important to us. Because, if you are empowering women, they will be good for themselves, family, and can bring a better future generation.” She also believed that gender equality is not only important for the economic point of view, but also on how everyone can build a strong, resilient, and inclusive society.
Y.W. Junardy, IGCN President shared his perspective on women in business ”Empowering women in the workplace also generates financial returns in the private sector. When women took strategic roles in the leadership positions, it attracts investors' interest to invest in the company and therefore, bigger business. Many businesses in Indonesia are aware of this and beginning to employ more women and giving equal opportunity for all.”
Sabine Machl, UN Women Representative said, “When more women participate in the workforce, economies grow. Women has unique position, when they empowered they will invest back to improve the lives of their families and communities. Therefore, it is important to tackle adverse norms and ensuring enabling environment for women to be able to realize their potential and contribute fully to the economies, societies, and businesses.”
The bell ringing ceremony was followed by a panel discussion titled "Equality Means Business" focusing on how private sectors contribute to ensure equal opportunities in the workplace. Among the speakers were Shinta Kamdani, President of IBCWE and owner of Sintesa Group; Ira Noviarti, VP Beauty and Personal Care of Unilever Indonesia; Vivin Harsanto, Senior Director of Advisories of JLL Indonesia; Putri Alam, Head of Public Policy & Government Relations of Google Indonesia; Sabine Machl, and Representative of UN Women. The session was moderated by Josephine Satyono, IGCN Executive Director.