The concentration of women investors on the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) has increased substantially for the first time in a decade, raising hopes of gradually bridging the gender gap among stockholders.
Statistics by the Capital Markets Authority (CMA) show that about 513,062 women had invested in the Nairobi bourse as at June, accounting for 34 percent of the total investors. This was a slight improvement from an almost flat record of 32 percent since 2010 when such data was first provided.
And more uplifting in the push for gender parity is that the number of women investors grew at a faster rate of 87 percent from the 273,254 registered in 2010 to 513,063 as at June, compared to 71 percent for men over the same period. There were 1,000,955 registered male investors on the NSE as at June.
In tandem with the rise in number of women investors, shares held by women also increased by 37 percent from 1.7 billion in 2010 to 2.4 billion in June.
The number of shares held by men increased 9.7 percent to 7.8 billion from 7.1 billion over the same period.
The shift is a good sign for women, long locked out of business and investment opportunities by cultural norms which favoured men.
With more women, especially the young, learning about investment and wealth creation, their participation in the securities market is gradually rising.
Though women hold ambition for economic participation, lack of capital has been a major hindrance—a challenge that could be partly addressed through deeper participation in the securities market for wealth and business capital generation.
A recent World Bank survey report Women, Business and the Law shows that cultural norms that barred women in Kenya from owning land and their low capitalised enterprises hurt their prospects of accessing credit to grow their businesses compared to men who were able to borrow large amounts of money.
Most women, it found, relied on micro credit facilities run on mobile apps where money borrowed was paid within days allowing the women traders to borrow afresh the next day. The mobile lenders preferred female borrowers because they have a higher score in repaying loans than men.
The investment capacity of women in Kenya is hurt by pay disparities which favour men. A recent survey report covering the 61 Kenyan companies listed on the NSE—Gender equality in Kenya—revealed that on average, a Kenyan woman is paid Sh68 for every Sh100 paid to a man.This means, […]