L-R: LuxSE CEO Julie Becker; HRH Grand Duchess Maria Teresa; Luxembourg's Finance Minister Yuriko Backes; Luxembourg's Economy and Development Minister Franz Fayot; (on screen) UN Women Assistant Secretary General & Deputy Executive Director Anita Bhatia; Credit: LuxSE

On Thursday 5 May 2022, the Luxembourg Stock Exchange (LuxSE) and the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to strengthen their cooperation and promote joint initiatives to advance financing for gender equality and women’s empowerment.

The cooperation was announced on Thursday during a signing ceremony at LuxSE in the presence of Her Royal Highness Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxembourg, Luxembourg's Minister of Finance, Yuriko Backes, and the Minister of the Economy and Development, Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs, Franz Fayot.

The MoU sets an agenda of joint work to advance sustainable debt for gender equality and promote gender lens investing. The overarching goal of these efforts is to mobilise capital flows to meaningfully contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly to SDG 5: "Achieve Gender Equality and Empower all Women and Girls".

Anita Bhatia, Assistant Secretary General and Deputy Executive Director of UN Women, commented: "Today's partnership really matters because we are bringing innovation to the area of gender equality. I am so pleased that we are going to be able to build on the long-standing partnership that we have with Luxembourg to really push the envelope and to try to make substantive and visible change in the lives of women by unleashing the power of finance".

LuxSE and UN Women will work together to promote sustainable debt instruments which raise financing for projects advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment across the world. The guidelines issued by UN Women, the International Capital Market Association and the International Finance Corporation in November 2021 entitled "Bonds to bridge the gender gap: A practitioner’s guide to using sustainable debt for gender equality" serve as a framework for these efforts.

Julie Becker, CEO of LuxSE, stated: "By entering this MoU with UN Women, we commit to contributing to gender equality and women’s empowerment by better linking finance and gender. In many parts of the world, women are still excluded from economic activities and financial services. If we want to reduce the gender gap in the global economy, we need to make sure women have access to education, opportunities and financing. This is why gender finance and gender lens investing are so important".

LuxSE is home to the Luxembourg Green Exchange (LGX), the world’s leading platform for sustainable securities encompassing more than 1,300 green, social, sustainability and sustainability-linked bonds, raising a total of €693 billion for specific green and social projects and sustainable development across the world. 
As part of its new commitments to linking gender and finance, LuxSE is now flagging sustainable debt instruments displayed on the LGX which raise financing for projects advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment. By highlighting securities that allocate all or a portion of their financing to concrete projects and strategies that contribute to gender equality objectives, LuxSE aims to make it easier for investors to identify gender-focused bonds. 

In addition to flagging gender-focused bonds on LGX, as part of the collaboration with UN Women, LuxSE will also leverage the LGX Academy to specifically promote and raise awareness of gender finance, coordinate work with relevant institutions in Luxembourg to better link finance and gender as well as promote superior gender equality practices within the exchange itself.