(L-R) Jean Elia, Sogelife; Luxembourg Finance Minister Gilles Roth; Jennifer de Nijs, LSFI; Falk Fischer, Julius Baer; Julie Becker, LuxSE; Isa Ribeiro, Clearstream; Micaela Forelli, M&G Investments Asset Management Operations; Credit: LuxSE

In the presence of Luxembourg's Minister of Finance, Gilles Roth, the Luxembourg Stock Exchange (LuxSE) rang the bell for gender equality on Friday 8 March 2024, highlighting national and international initiatives promoting women in finance and financing for women.

In a special two-part "ring the bell" ceremony held at LuxSE on Friday, guests from Luxembourg and Argentina joined the exchange to celebrate the first anniversary of the launch of the Luxembourg Women in Finance Charter as well as the listing of Argentina-based non-profit development organisation Pro Mujer’s ARS 370 million gender bond. 

The Luxembourg Stock Exchange has long been a pioneer when it comes to promoting gender finance. This year’s event coincided with the launch of the first report on the Luxembourg Women in Finance Charter. The report provides the baseline to measure progress in our financial centre to get more women represented at senior decision-making level. I look forward to continuing the excellent dialogue and cooperation with our financial centre to develop and promote gender finance, including as part of the dedicated Gender Finance Task Force the Ministry set up recently,” said Minister Roth. 
Following the launch of the Luxembourg Women in Finance Charter during LuxSE’s International Women’s Day 2023 celebrations, the first portion of the day’s event was dedicated to the launch of the Luxembourg Women in Finance Charter Baseline Report, prepared by the Luxembourg Sustainable Finance Initiative (LSFI) as the coordinating entity of the charter. 

LSFI President Jennifer de Nijs presented the current level of women representation among the charter signatories as well as the targets set by signatories to foster further gender diversity. Selected representatives from the 71 charter signatories were invited to share their perspectives on progress made and lessons learned in the first twelve months of the charter. 

The International Women’s Day celebration also set the scene for Pro Mujer’s debut on international capital markets with the listing of the Argentinian non-profit development organisation’s trailblazing gender bond on LuxSE. The bond is displayed on the Luxembourg Green Exchange (LGX) and carries LuxSE’s gender-focused bond flag to make it easy to identify for investors who include a gender dimension in their investment strategies. 

The proceeds from the ARS 370 million gender bond, equivalent to $1 million, provide loans to more than 1,300 low-income women entrepreneurs in Argentina. To mark this important listing, LuxSE, Pro Mujer and UN Women published a detailed case study about the bond, describing how it will contribute to the economic empowerment of women in the Latin American country and the lessons learnt in the issuance process. 
Travelling from Latin America to mark the listing of the bond at LuxSE, Pro Mujer CEO Carmen Correa noted: “Throughout our 33 years of history, we have been recognised for our commitment to developing innovative financial mechanisms tailored to the needs of women in Latin America. Last year, we made history in Latin America by becoming the first non-traditional issuer to issue a gender bond. The listing of our gender bond at the Luxembourg Stock Exchange is a recognition that fills us with pride and hope.” 
In the spirit of this year’s theme – Inspire Inclusion – we are delighted to mark two important developments that contribute to gender equality and women’s empowerment. On the one hand, we welcome the progress made towards our goal of a more gender diverse financial centre in Luxembourg – ultimately supporting more women in finance and on the other, we welcome the listing of Pro Mujer’s gender bond on LuxSE, which has unlocked crucial financing for thousands of low-income women entrepreneurs in Argentina and so contributes to much needed financing for women,” said Julie Becker, CEO of LuxSE. 

LuxSE’s International Women’s Day event was part of the global Ring the Bell for Gender Equality initiative led by the World Federation of Exchanges, UN Global Compact, UN Women, the Sustainable Stock Exchanges initiative and the International Finance Corporation (IFC). More than 110 exchanges across the world took part in the campaign this year. 

This global initiative, now in its tenth year, strives to bring attention to the pivotal role that capital markets can play in advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment by creating a stronger link between women and finance in the world economy.