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Closing gender gap in job place to take 135 years -report

According to World Economic Forum, women still have only three-quarters of the legal rights accorded to men, an aggregate score of 76.5%

In Summary
  • While Kenya is yet to achieve targets in this area, it ranks way ahead of its East African peers
  • Kenya is ranked 13th in Africa in bridging the gender equality gap
Image: Ozone

Would you be surprised if you encountered more female plumbers, painters and electricians in the technical workforce job market?

Women are still perceived to be vulnerable and only qualify for softer jobs whereas men as seen as strong enough for tougher roles, the technical jobs.

According to a report released by the World Economic Forum, Global Gender Gap Report 2021, it will now take over a century, 135.6 years to close the gender gap worldwide, meaning that a whole generation of women will have to wait before gender parity is attained.

Globally, women still have only three-quarters of the legal rights accorded to men, an aggregate score of 76.5 per cent illustrating incomplete legal parity.

A World Bank report released earlier this year indicates that billions of working-age women globally still face unequal job opportunities compared to their male counterparts.

Women, Business and the Law 2022 report released on March 1, noted at least 2.4 billion women are economically marginalised with 178 countries maintaining legal barriers that still prevent women's full economic participation.

In Kenya, women are still under-represented in corporate senior leadership positions, on boards and in technical works.

The World Economic Forum Global Gender Report 2021 ranked Kenya at position 95 globally in bridging the gender gap. Namibia was ranked the leading African country and sixth globally.

The country is however ahead of its East and South African peers.

It is followed by Rwanda in second place and seventh globally, while South Africa was third and 18th in the world.

Burundi is fourth and 26th globally, Zimbabwe fifth in Africa and 47th in the world, followed by Zambia, sixth in Africa and 56th in the world.

Madagascar is ranked seventh and 57th globally, Uganda eighth and 66 globally. Cape Verde came in at ninth and 68 globally followed by Botswana at number 10 in Africa and 71 worldwide.

Tanzania is number 11 in Africa and 82 worldwide and Lesotho at number 12 in Africa and 92 globally.

In an effort to bridge the gap in the country, USAID partnered with Family Group Foundation in a Sh 30 million bid to boost the technical workforce in Nairobi and Kiambu counties.

The partnership saw nearly 200 women aged 18-24 years trained and graduate in plumbing, electrical, and painting courses to propel Kenyans to new industrialized status by 2030.

The graduates received construction tool kits to equip them as they start their integration into the labour market demands.

The partnership also seeks to increase the economic stability of households to care for and protect orphans and vulnerable children and to strengthen the capacity of community systems and structures.

This is through training that is certified by the National Industrial Training Authority (NITA) and the National Construction Authority (NCA) implemented by Arc Skills.

Speaking at the ceremony, MSEA director Edward Karani commended Family Bank and USAID  for joining hands to empower the lives of young women.

Karani said the role that technical and vocational skills play cannot be underscored.

''It will enhance these young women’s self-employability, income, livelihoods and provide them labour market linkages,'' he said. 

This, as reports, shows that five per cent of women in 2020 lost work, which could mean losing a job or experiencing reduced hours, compared with 3.9 per cent of men.

The agency is addressing the barriers to women’s full economic participation and is working to close the gender financing gap.

In Kenya, 80 per cent of women are engaged in smallholder farming with only one per cent owning land, accessing less than 10 per cent of available credit, and less than a percentage of agriculture credit.

Women’s Economic Empowerment (WEE) initiative seeks to reach 50 million women in the developing world by 2025 through US Government activities, private-public partnerships, and an innovative fund.

The initiative aims to enhance opportunities for women to participate meaningfully in the economy and advance both prosperity and national security.

Although, the past three years have seen an increase in women's participation in societal transformation in various fields.

Today, more women are in political leadership positions. They make up 36 per cent of Kenya’s corporate boards, a mark exceeding the global average of 23 per cent.

There are also more women leading SMEs and building brands that are changing lives and enforcing gender parity.

The gender gap in financial inclusion remains significantly high.

A report by the African Women’s Development Fund estimates it at USD 42 billion for women in Africa.

Speaking during the function, Family Bank CEO Rebecca Mbithi said the co-creation of this intervention is critical.

''We want to not only empower the young women but enable them to empower others as we drive financial inclusion and sustainability,'' she said.

Research shows that an acceleration in progress towards gender parity could boost African economies by an equivalent of 10 per cent of their collective GDP by 2025.