By Winnie Kabinte
As so often with statistics and surveys there’s good and bad news for women in Kenya in the results of reports just released.
WOMEN’S HEALTH – KENYA CLOSES ‘GENDER GAP’
According to the latest Global Gender Gap Report published by the World Economic Forum, Kenya has been ranked the best in the world in promoting women in health.
The report rated 144 countries based on their progress in gender equality across four criteria: health and survival; economic participation; educational attainment; and political empowerment.
When it comes to the health and survival of women, the report found that Kenya has completely closed the gender gap.
“No country has fully closed its educational attainment… but Kenya is one of the seven countries to have fully closed their health and survival gender gaps“, the report says.
WOMEN IN KENYA – LACK OF PROGRESS AND FALLING BEHIND
However, Kenya fared less well in the Global Gender Gap Report overall, falling three places to number 76 out of the 144 countries studied due to its lack of progress in terms of including more women in leadership positions in politics, business, education and other decision-making bodies.
The report’s findings are supported by statistics released by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) which show that women in Kenya are falling further behind their male counterparts when it comes to filling higher paid positions in the economy.
MORE MEN THAN WOMEN EARNING SH100,000
The KNBS data reveal that fewer women than men are achieving elevation to the ranks of those earning Sh100,000 or more and that the gap is widening.
In 2016, 912 women, the statistics show, achieved appointment or promotion to jobs paying Sh100,000 or above (down from 1,141 in 2015), compared to 1,583 men reaching that level of income (although for men this too was lower than in 2015, down from 1,981 in that year).
The KNBS figures show 27,154 women in Kenya earning Sh100,000 in 2016 compared to 47,139 men.
KENYA WOMEN IN POLITICS
The good and bad news for women in Kenya is also mirrored in the political sphere.
The election of 8 August, 2017, produced the first female governors (out of 47); five female Senators were elected (out of 47); 23 Members of Parliament (out of 210 members elected); and there were 47 Women Reps elected.
However, whilst these figures are an improvement they do not reach the ‘two-thirds’ gender principle enshrined in the constitution.
The figures for women’s representation in politics at a county level in Kenya following the election are even less inspiring: only 98 women were elected out the 1,450 seats up for contest.
The latest figures on women in Kenya reaching gender parity read like a school report: could do better.