NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 18 – A movement to get private sector companies to support women’s equality in the workplace, business and the community has been launched in Kenya.
A collaboration action between UN Women Kenya and Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the movement seeks to sensitise and get company heads to submit their signatures in support for the Women’s Empowerment Principles.
Guided by seven principles which were formulated by UN Women and the UN Global Compact, the movement includes principles such as promotion of education, fair treatment of women and men at the workplace among others.
Capital Group Limited, Safaricom, Central Bank of Kenya are among more than 30 companies to submit their signatures in support of the movement.
Speaking at the movement’s launch, Kenya National Chambers of Commerce and industry Chairman Kiprono Kittony said his organisation is committed to ensure women are economically empowered and are accorded fair employment and business practice which include proportioning of 30 per cent government tenders allocated to women, youth and persons with disabilities.
Additionally, UN Women Kenya Country Director Zebib Kavuma said; “Women Empowerment Principles underscore the opportunity to work together with the private sector to collaborate with government led economic initiatives, such as the UWEZO fund which seeks to provide youth and women access to loans and mentorship opportunities to enable them take advantage of the 30 per cent of government procurement preference for women, youth and persons with disabilities.”
The movement will see more women being able to participate fully in economic life across all sectors and throughout all levels of economic activities. Instances through which companies are recommended to empower women include offering equal opportunities, including women in all facets of business and being non-discriminative.
The campaign comes at a time when an African Development Bank finding has ranked Kenya first for having the highest number of women in boards specifically the East African Breweries that have 45.5 per cent number of women in the board.
However, the case is not the same in many businesses and workplaces.
Statistics suggest that women, in many places around the world, continue to be underrepresented in the workplace. For instance, International Labour Organization and the Asian Development Bank reported in 2011 revealed that employment rates for women as compared to men cost Asia US$47billion annually as 45 per cent of women remain outside the workplace compared to only 19 per cent of men.