Kenya: Women in Leadership Positions in Kenya Below Global Average

Nairobi — Kenya has lost some of its gains in achieving gender parity in top leadership positions, with the number of women in C-suite and board positions going below the global average, a new study shows.

The study done by IBM Institute for Business Value (IBV) and Chief revealed that in the country, women at the C-suite level stood at 11 per cent and Board level at 10 per cent, this is below the global representation of 12 per cent for both C-suite and Board levels.

Even so, it noted that Kenya has a higher representation of women in junior professional/specialist roles at 41 per cent compared to the global average of 40 per cent.

“While we’re pleased to see slight progress in the representation of women in junior professional/specialist roles in Kenya when compared to the global levels, it’s imperative that companies do more to fill the pipeline that leads to increase in C-suite and Board level positions including furthering the participation in junior and specialists roles,” said Lindsay Kaplan, Co-Founder and Chief Brand Officer of Chief.

“Women are significantly underrepresented at nearly every level of the workforce. If companies prioritize gender diversity across their entire organizations through policies, investments, and a culture that meaningfully supports women, we’ll see a transformative impact — equity for everyone in the workplace and stronger, more resilient businesses.”

In addition, fewer than half (47 per cent) of Kenyan organizations higher than the global figure of (45 per cent) surveyed in the report indicated they have made advancing more women into leadership roles a top, formal business priority.

The survey however noted that there is sustainable progress in achieving gender parity with most organizations having largely tackled the easy-to-implement programs supporting gender equity.

“Even so, structural barriers and unconscious bias that hinder women’s advancement remain strong,” the survey noted.

IBM East Africa, General Manager, Caroline Mukiira urged Kenyan organizations to prioritize advancing women and take action to challenge structural barriers and unconscious bias so as to thrive in the rapidly changing world.