Argentinean Stock Exchanges and Markets: Towards Gender Diversity on Boards
In the Photo: Gabriela Terminielli, ByMA’s Director and Co-Chair of Women Corporate Directors Argentina
Even before signing the WEPs, the Argentinean stock exchange, Bolsas y Mercados Argentinos, or ByMA, was committed to advancing gender equality in business and capital markets, actively encouraging attempts to attract and retain women as employees, investors and market participants. Gabriela Terminielli, ByMA’s Director and Co-Chair of Women Corporate Directors Argentina, explains more.
You were already working towards gender diversity before you signed the WEPs. Can you tell us more?
ByMA initiated Argentina’s first corporate governance panel. This is essentially a panel of listed companies who have voluntarily adopted additional corporate governance practices beyond those required by Argentine law. To be part of the panel, companies must meet a series of requirements including a strong focus on gender diversity.
Together with the Inter-American Development Bank, ByMA also created a sustainability index that rates listed companies according to their performance in environmental, social, corporate governance and sustainable development matters. Gender diversity is one of the important factors we consider when rating companies.
ByMA is also an annual participant in Ring the Bell for Gender Equality, a ceremony held each March in stock exchanges around the world to promote the full participation of women at all levels of political, economic and public life.
How do you plan to implement the WEPs?
With the support of the UN Women Win-Win programme, we have put together a challenging but realistic action plan. We intend to prioritize the development of a range of products and services with a gender focus and to ensure we are supporting women-owned businesses. We will also ensure a responsible approach to marketing, and will be monitoring the performance of suppliers when it comes to gender equality.
Inside ByMA, our initial focus will be on why women leave the stock exchange, looking particularly at how we can support those with caring responsibilities and also encourage a decent work-life balance.
How do you think the WEPs contribute to advancing gender equality in the private sector?
The WEPs have contributed significantly in terms of raising awareness of the importance of gender equality in private sector companies and encouraging businesses to look at themselves. Thanks to the WEPs, Argentinean companies have made real progress in just one year, based on a solid understanding of the current situation and a workable action plan.
How do you think being a WEPs signatory will contribute to your organization’s gender equality ambitions?
I have been actively working on these issues in different organizations for more than a decade and in that time, I have not seen a more effective programme than Win-Win. Now our challenge is to start delivering concrete actions and to measure the results.
Has your organization identified anything else you need to do now you have signed the WEPs?
In my opinion, to get women into senior roles and especially on to boards, there must be a combination of two things. Firstly, and the WEPs cover this very well, there must be company policies that advance gender equality. But secondly, women need to design their careers in a way that means they are sufficiently professionally and financially established by the time they reach key life events such as starting a family, so that their careers do not stagnate.
How should we be supporting younger women to advance their careers?
The first ten years of a young professional’s career in a company are key. We must ensure that if a women does not progress further than middle management, it is by choice and not because she was not given opportunities to develop.
We need to think about the barriers women face from the very first moment they enter a company, not simply at points like maternity leave. Training needs to be ongoing and available immediately. We must make better progress if we are to make any significant difference in the number of women in decision-making roles in the short- or medium-term.