Kenya is still trailing her regional counterparts when it comes to advancing female leadership.
Despite the country having quite some progressive laws on enhancing Gender Equality including the constitutional two-thirds gender rule, achieving gender parity has become elusive for the East African nation, which has often been a trailblazer in other fonts.
According to a recent report by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the Government of Kenya report titled ‘Consolidating Democratic Dividends for Sustainable Transformation in Kenya’ the political and corporate scene is top of the areas where female representation is dismally especially at the helm of leadership roles.
Only 21.78 percent and 30.88 percent women sit at the National Assembly and Senate respectively compared to Rwanda, whose women legislators account for 61.25 percent, Burundi (38 percent), Tanzania (36.9 percent), Uganda (34.8 percent) and South Sudan (28.46 percent).
In the private sector, the report notes that only 22 percent of women occupy leadership positions, highlighting challenges that Kenya faces in attaining gender parity at workplaces.
The report observes that “lack of an implementation mechanism is the major contributing factor to non-realization of Gender Equality in Kenya, citing two-thirds gender rule he continuous failure by the government to enforce in the current National Assembly”.
In order to address these challenges and help Kenya shrink the Gender Gap by empowering more women in leadership roles, UNDP has partnered with the Ministry of Devolution and Arid and Semi-arid Lands to implement a two-year program that aims to contribute to Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5 on Gender Equality and SDG 10 on reducing Inequality.
“The broad objective of this project is to support State action and citizen engagement towards realizing improved democratic governance, accountability, respect for the rule of law, access to justice, human rights and gender equality,” the report says.
“Further attention will be given to mainstreaming women leadership structure to ensure more capacities and visibility for the women in political processes as well as encouraging mentorship and dialogue between older and younger women to ensure open communication, cohesion, and partnerships.”
Benefits of having women in leadership
According to the 2016 Women Matter Report by McKinsey Africa, there are a myriad of benefits associated with female leadership, which include; robust work ethic, Openness to new perspectives, Commitment to professional development, collaboration and inclusiveness.
“Research shows that male board members rely more on normative reasoning – that is, they prefer to make decisions based on rules, regulations, and traditional ways of doing business, they can be more open to considering new ideas and a broader set of solutions,” the report says.
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