Female board members less corrupt than men

Women need to judge themselves less harshly and become better negotiators in order to earn their place in the board room.

"If you're going to break the proverbial glass ceiling, you have to earn your place," says Kellen Kariuki, chief executive officer of Unclaimed Assets Financial Services.

With projections that it will take until 2133 (117 years) to achieve global gender parity, it is becoming clearer that women must take every opportunity to rise on their own initiative, even as efforts are made to level the playing field.

"Don't just sit on boards as the token female appointment. It's not just a matter of fulfilling the minimum one-third rule. It's about having your voice heard in the board room and representing the voices of other women," says Celestine Munda, the only black woman who sits on the Ernst & Young (EY) board.

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She is also a partner responsible for advisory services.

At a round table discussion hosted by the Institute of Directors (Kenya), Chairman Duncan Watta called for the enhancement of policies that improve the inclusion of women in positions of leadership, something that would contribute significantly to global gender parity.

"Boards with women have demonstrated 20 per cent higher performance than boards with a lower degree of gender diversity. This could be attributed to several factors including women's ingenuity, creativity, intuitiveness and natural flair," he said.

His sentiments were echoed by the institute's senior manager, Meshack Joram, who said that attitude change, mentorship and succession planning is essential if women are to take up more leadership roles.

"There is still much more mentoring of men to take up board positions than women. This calls for culture change if we want to see more women in leadership positions," he said.

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While men have the advantage, Corporate Governance Consultant Madren Olunya encouraged women to rise above gender stereotypes and pay the price for success.

"It is said that the average accomplished woman on a board has had to give up something to be there. Most women are either single or divorced," she said.

A recent report launched by the Institute of Directors shows that women are particularly effective in promoting transparent governance.

corruptiongender inequalityUnclaimed Assets Financial Services