The Global Compact Network Kenya in partnership with Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE), UN Women Kenya and International Finance Corporate (IFC) Africa today joined over 100 stock exchanges globally to Ring the Bell for Gender Equality in commemoration of International Women’s Day.
The event, held for the sixth consecutive year, aims to encourage the private sector to scale-up efforts to achieve gender equality in their markets, industries and organizations by adopting and implementing the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs).
The event was graced by Prof. Margaret Kobia, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Public Service, and Gender Affairs who gave assurance of the Governments’ support towards gender equality.
“In spite of the visible challenges at home and plausible ceilings at work, the government seeks to create opportunities for both women and men to develop to their full potential. I want to thank H.E Uhuru Kenyatta for championing women empowerment, more with the Government’s response to COVID 19’s effect on them. The Government is committed to having an equal gender environment by 2030.” she said.
Speaking during the event, Geoffrey Odundo, NSE Chief Executive noted, “Of the listed companies in the NSE, 26% of them have women on the board with 43 per cent of them in top management, some as CEOs. We know for certain that investors not only look at company financials, but they also look at governance in regard to inclusion, more so for women. Ladies have incredible self-initiative and drive, and this must be matched by companies being deliberate towards balancing their Boards.”
The event was in line with the UN Women’s theme for International Women’s Day 2021 — “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world” — which celebrates the tremendous efforts by women and girls around the world in shaping a more equal future and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Reiterating the importance of gender parity, Judy Njino, Executive Director, Global Compact Network Kenya highlighted that backlash and prejudices against gender equality should be addressed through collective action with the government, civil society, and the private sector.
Judy added, “In this decade of action, we need businesses to be more intentional and ambitious for the realization of the economic value gender equality brings.”
During the event United Bank of Africa (UBA) Kenya signed its commitment to the WEPs through a CEO statement cementing their pledge to further promote women’s career development and gender equality and inclusion in its operations.
Women leaders and women’s organizations in the private sector have demonstrated their skills, knowledge, and networks to effectively lead in COVID-19 response and recovery efforts. The Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) is playing a leading role in advancing gender equality. “We have 9 men and 6 lady directors, as well as 3 men and 6 ladies in management,” said Carole Karuga, CEO, KEPSA.
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