Why no female candidate made it to CBK chairperson shortlist

An illustration of women. [iStockPhoto]

When the Public Service Commission (PSC) released names of shortlisted candidates for the position of Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) chairperson last week, it was surprising to note that it did not include a single female candidate.

The Standard has established that some six women applied for the position, but did not qualify.

A series of questions have since been raised about what would have resulted in this or why it would seem women shy away from very senior positions in the corporate world.

PSC Director of Communication Brown Kutswa revealed to The Standard that female applicants did not qualify as they didn’t meet all the set criteria.

"We advertised the position and received applications from people in senior positions and those who just applied for the sake of doing so. In this case, the position was guided by law, and qualifications were strictly followed. It has nothing to do with gender."

"The six candidates met all the qualifications required and that is why they were on the shortlist. Of the six women who applied, none of them met the criteria that were required,” Kutswa explained.

According to National Gender and Equality Commission Chairperson Joyce Mutinda, women tend to miss out on senior positions due to a lack of training despite qualifying academically.

“When the list was out, I called my counterpart at PSC, Anthony Muchiri, and asked him why there were no women. I was allowed to review their applications and to be honest, the six knew they had met the criteria but failed at requirement number five which requires one to have knowledge or experience in monetary, financial, banking, and economic matters or other disciplines relevant to the functions of the Central Bank,” said Mutinda.

“As women, we do not go for professional training, especially for senior roles and that is where we get dropped.”

Kutswa, reiterating Mutinda’s sentiments added that women who may be qualified for various top positions tend to shy off. 

“For us, we are not surprised that the majority of the applicants were men. There could be women who are qualified for the job but they did not respond to the advert. Such positions are strict and every qualification has to be met,” noted Kutswa.

National Gender and Equality Commission Chairperson Joyce Mutinda. [Esther Nyambura, Standard]

What needs to be done?

The NGEC chairperson advises that women should stop ‘sitting pretty’, get out of their comfort zones, and take up short courses to improve their professions.

According to her, after achieving the first or second degree, women pause their careers and focus on having a baby or building a home.

“Yes, they might have ten or more years of experience but the bit of training is where men get it all,” argued Mutinda.

Additionally, the government should provide mothers with lactating rooms such that they do not have to keep away from demanding jobs just because they are nursing.

Their sentiments come a week after PSC released a list of six shortlisted candidates for the CBK chairperson position among them the former PS for East Africa Affairs, John Konchellah.

The six will undergo interviews on Wednesday, July 12.