Kenya firms score low on gender parity

By People Reporter
Tuesday, December 3rd, 2019
Workplace. Photo/Courtesy

John Otini

Kenya still ranks among countries with extremely unequal workplaces with most women pushed to non-core functions such as human resource, legal and communications, global consulting firm McKinsey says.

Despite Kenya’s significant progress in appointing more women executives in the top positions, there are few women in core operations such as finance, strategy and risk.

This is where key decisions are made to determine the future of the company.

Executive committees

In a stinging attack, the report says most of the women in executive committees have staff rather than line roles that matter for succession and from which chief executives normally come from.

The report titled the Power of Parity, Advancing Women’s Equality in Africa, assigns Kenya 49 per cent in gender equality at work compared to 60 per cent for Burundi and 67 per cent for Botswana.

“People in staff roles have less influence on the strategic direction of companies, including any effort to further gender equality,” the report says.

Human resource, legal and communications can be outsourced making them secondary operations.

With a female population of 25 million out of the total 47 million, the report says that Kenyan and African companies are short-changing themselves.

“Organisations that do not embrace diversity are shortchanging themselves and their shareholders. Your leadership structures should reflect your customer base,” the firm said in the report published last week.

Even though Kenya scores high in labour force participation at 92 per cent, most of the women work in the informal sector.