Diversity, inclusion key to building a better tomorrow

Diversity, inclusion key to building a better tomorrow

Every year on August 26, the world marks the Women’s Equality Day — a day that was designated by the US Congress in 1971 to commemorate the 1920 passage of the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution, granting women the right to vote.

Half a century on, the Women’s Equality Day is calling attention to continuing efforts towards gender equality.

Achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls by 2030 is goal number 5 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. The reality, though, is that gender parity remains wide of the mark.

According to the United Nations, representation of women in national parliaments across the world is at 25.6 percent, 36.3 percent in local governments and 28.2 percent in managerial positions.

The picture is no different on the corporate front. In 2019, a survey was conducted by the global organisation Equileap, on the 61 companies listed on the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE).

The survey ranked the companies based on their performance on gender equality, with the highest score being 63 percent and three percent at the lowest.

The average score stood at 26 percent, just a percentage point lower than the Canadian companies’ average score of 27 percent.

It was, however, encouraging to see the mix of companies across different sectors making it to the top 20 position, including Standard Chartered Bank Kenya who were top, Safaricom, EABL, Kenya Airways, KenGen, Total Kenya, BAT Kenya and the NSE.

The survey further indicated that women accounted for 23 percent of board members, having nearly doubled since 2012, according to a similar survey that was conducted by the Kenya Institute of Management.

This clearly shows that there is a lot of headroom for improvement in the inclusion of women in corporate leadership.

A company like BAT Kenya, for example, has a robust diversity and inclusion strategy that is a key driver of its transformation journey and has set an ambitious target to achieve 50 percent gender balance across the business by 2025.Currently, women represent approximately 40 percent of the total staff and 36 percent at the board level.Diverse teams that are representative of the world we live in are key to building high-performing teams.The question that begs to be answered, though, is what practical steps companies can take to bridge the gender gap? The first step is to take deliberate policy actions that facilitate gender balance in the recruitment and retention of talent.The work environment also needs to be strategically […]

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