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NSE firms fare badly on gender parity

By Wainaina Wambu | Nov 14th 2019 | 2 min read
By Wainaina Wambu | November 14th 2019

Listed Kenyan companies are yet to strike an overall gender balance despite having more female CEOs than some of their global counterparts, a new report shows.

At the same time, the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE)-listed companies have been faulted for hiding gender pay gap information.

Dubbed Gender Equality in Kenya, the study released yesterday in Nairobi assessed 60 leading companies on workplace equality.

It found that none of the firms polled had achieved gender balance in the four levels assessed - board, executive, senior management and workforce.

When it comes to women on top, seven companies, representing 12 per cent, have a female CEO.

These are BOC Kenya, British American Tobacco Kenya, DTB Kenya, Eveready East Africa, KenGen, Li­muru Tea, and STANLIB Fahari I-Reit.

At 26 per cent, Kenya ranked higher than the USA, Japan and Hongkong in terms of gender equality score.

In comparison, there are seven female CEOs in the FTSE 100 companies (London Stock Exchange) and 33 female CEOs in Fortune 500 companies (highest-grossing companies in the US), a seven per cent representation for each.

Twelve companies (20 per cent) have a female Chief Finance Officer (CFO), while three companies (five per cent) have a female chairperson.

The report was published by Danish research firm Equileap in partnership with New Faces New Voices and NSE.

It says 62 per cent of the companies (37) do not have a composition of the gender of their workforce.

Also, no company published information on pay differences between males and females or a strategy that explains how they plan to deal with the pay gap.

Releasing the report yesterday, Equileap CEO Diana van Maasdijk said there was “limited transparency” on the pay gap information despite Kenya edging out some more advanced countries.

“The report shows that Kenyan listed companies are outperforming their global counterparts in certain areas, with more female CEOs than the FTSE 100 for instance. However, this stronger female leadership and commitment to gender equality still needs to be accompanied by greater transparency in areas such as the gender pay gap, which currently goes undisclosed in Kenya,” she said.

NSE Chief Geoffrey Odundo said ensuring gender equality would play a key role in attracting strategic investors in local listed firms.

“Addressing gender equality will unlock trillions of dollars of currently unrealised economic value across the globe,” said Mr Odundo.

“The NSE is playing its part by continuously supporting research on gender equality issues such as this report.”

Standard Chartered was the top ranked company in Kenya with a gender equality score of 63 per cent.

It was followed by WPP Scangroup and Safaricom and Barclays Bank of Kenya respectively.

According to the report, the four are the only listed firms that offer employees flexibility in terms of both hours and location.

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