By Obrien Kimani/Christine Muchira
Listed companies will now be required to outline their strategies to adopt women in management and directorship positions.
This is one of the requirements set out by the Capital Markets Authority in a bid to ensure gender equality in corporate Kenya.
Capital Markets Authority chief executive Paul Muthaura says out of the 65 listed companies, only three are led by women.
When it comes to boardroom affairs men dominate the decision making process.
Out of ten boardroom positions in Kenya nine are held by men making many institutions heavily imbalanced.
The situation is not different in the whole world where women make up a small percentage of leadership positions in the corporate world at less than 10 percent according to consulting group McKinsey.
‘Ring the Bell for Gender Equality’
In Africa, Kenya leads the continent in the number of women in boardroom positions mainly due to affirmative action in the public sector with 12.5 percent of all boardroom positions held by women.
Nairobi Securities Exchange has joined 43 other Stock Exchanges globally to ‘Ring the Bell for Gender Equality’ commemorating the International Women’s Day (March 8) to raise awareness on the importance of Gender Equality in the Capital Markets.
To ensure more inclusivity in listed firms the Capital Markets Authority has outlined various measures to ensure more women are recruited into boardroom and managerial positions in corporate Kenya.
Speaking during the event, NSE Vice Chairman Mr. Bob Karina noted, The Exchange is committed to improving the number of women represented on the boards of listed companies and we are hopeful that the numbers will increase to at least a third female board representation in all listed companies by 2020. Listed companies must adhere to better corporate governance practices for the benefit of the investors, organizations and the economy at large.”
Judy Njino, the Country Coordinator of Global Compact Kenya stated, “Gender equality is essential for advancing the Sustainable Development Goals, and the private sector must play its role by providing equal opportunities for women throughout their operations and value chains. Stock exchanges can have an enormous impact by encouraging gender diversity within listed companies and ensuring accessibility of capital market services to women-owned businesses and female entrepreneurs.”
To achieve a higher women representation in leadership positions the United Nations is encouraging more companies to recruit more women in their boardrooms.
The UN seeks to achieve a 50 percent gender balance by the year 2030 in managerial and directorship positions in the work environment.
In September 2015, the SSE published an SDG briefing document in advance of its SDG Leaders’ Luncheon at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) which identified Goal 5, Gender Equality, as one of four goals stock exchanges are best positioned to support.