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Ramallah – On the occasion of International Women’s Day, the Palestine Exchange, in partnership with the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, the Palestine Capital Market Authority, and the International Finance Corporation, organized a bell-ringing ceremony for “Gender Equality.” This marks the fifth time such an event has taken place in Palestine.

This year, approximately 118 stock exchanges and securities commissions participated in the bell-ringing initiative to raise awareness about the crucial role played by the private sector in promoting gender equality and sustainable development through innovation, technology, and contributing to a more equitable future.

Under the theme “DigitALL: Innovation and Technology for Gender Equality,” the United Nations celebrates International Women’s Day in 2023, focusing on women and girls who advocate for progress in the field of digitalization and innovation as transformative means to achieve gender equality. 

In his speech, His Excellency the Minister of Economy, Mr. Khaled Al-Esseily, welcomed the attendees and expressed pride in the modern Companies Law, which provides privileges for entrepreneurial projects led by women, and youth. He added, “We are currently working on a draft for an Electronic Commerce Law to open up more job opportunities for youth and women.”

On his part, Mr. Samir Hulileh, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Palestine Exchange, emphasized the importance of innovation and technological advancements, particularly in the financial sector, and their role in promoting gender equality. He added, “At the Palestine Exchange, we are committed to creating a space that supports equal access to services and opportunities in the field of investment. Therefore, we continuously work on developing innovative tools and methods that contribute to reaffirming our commitment to financial inclusion in our work. We make every effort and utilize all available resources to build a brighter, fairer, and more inclusive future for everyone through collaboration among various market stakeholders.”

Mr. Murad Jadbah, the Director of the Securities Directorate at the Capital Market Authority, emphasized the need to invest in women to uplift societies and countries as a whole. This includes promoting partnerships between governments, the private sector, and civil society to build a world that is more inclusive, just, and prosperous for everyone.

The Special Representative of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, Ms. Maryse Guimond, stressed that technology and innovation are essential for achieving the 2030 Agenda and the sustainable development goals. She added that the transition towards sustainability and digitalization has the potential to create millions of decent jobs for women, placing them on an equal footing with men to achieve inclusive and sustainable growth.

By the same intimation, Mr. Youssef Habesch, the Resident Representative of the International Finance Corporation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, stated, “Investing in women and in innovative and technological sectors drives the economy towards growth, creates job opportunities, and contributes to building a strong and flexible economy. Inclusive companies can benefit from a broader range of talents and unlock the full potential of their workforce, enabling them to achieve success.

The participants discussed various models and solutions aimed at reducing the gender-based gap through innovation and the use of different financial platforms provided by both the public and private sectors. This would enable women to assert their abilities and creativity in various fields, including finance and the use of services offered by banks, as well as investments in securities and all the new financial products that contribute to the development of their businesses.

During the celebration, partner institutions, including the Ministry of National Economy, the Capital Market Authority, and Vitas Company, discussed the most innovative models and solutions they offer through technology to bridge the gender-based gap in access to policies and services. This includes electronic business development platforms, banking services, digital financial services, and electronic packages and products. These initiatives aim to enhance financial inclusion for women and youth, and provide access to sustainable and gender-responsive services. The participants emphasized the importance of coordinating efforts at the national level by developing electronic platforms and services as part of the current strategic planning cycle of the Palestinian government for the years 2024-2029, in line with the National Financial Inclusion Strategy.

The celebration also included an announcement of three new institutions joining by signing the “Women’s Empowerment Principles.” These institutions are PriceWaterhouseCoopers, the Arab Islamic Bank, and the Petit Pas Center. With these additions, the total number of Palestinian companies signing these principles has reached 19 companies since the beginning of the current year.

In the session (from left to right), Ms. Farah Zahalka from the Palestine Exchange, Ms. Raghad Alqam and Ms. Maryan Abd Rabbo, university students and entrepreneurs, and Ms. Amani Muady, General Manager of Palestine’s Information and Communications Technology Incubator (PICTI), shared their ideas, solutions, and insights on how to bridge the gender-based gap through creativity and digital technology. Ramallah, March 13, 2023. Photo by the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women.

On the other hand, two university students Raghad Alqam and Maryan Abd Raboo, along with Amani Muady, the General Manager of PICTI, presented their ideas, solutions, and insights on how to bridge the gender-based gap through creativity and digital technology. This session was moderated by Farah Zahalka from the Palestine Exchange. They highlighted the importance of focusing on individuals living in remote areas, including women and youth, and ensuring they have access to digital services, awareness, business development services, and networking opportunities. Additionally, they emphasized the need to change social perceptions and attitudes regarding women’s economic participation, especially young women’s entrepreneurial activities.

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