By Judy Ndunge
In Kenya, gender diversity in the boardroom now stands at 36%, a significant progress from 21% in 2017. In comparison, the global average of women holding board positions stands at 23.3% up from 20.4% in 2018.
According to the 2021 Board Diversity and Inclusion Survey Report by the Kenya Institute of Management (KIM) published, in partnership with Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE), New Faces New Voices (NFNV) and the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA), The average age of Kenyan board members is 47.6 years, down from 55.8 years in 2017.
The report examined the impact of diversity and inclusion on organisational performance, decision-making, and productivity in the boardroom. The study sought to explore diversity beyond gender and age, and included other variables such as education attained, professional background, nationality, ethnicity, and religion. The aim was to provide insights into best practices to drive parity by 2030, as enshrined in the Social Pillar of the Vision 2030 Blueprint.
The report was released during a launch event organized in Nairobi which brought together senior executives of listed companies, government officials and non–government officials keen on enhancing gender equality in Kenya.
The Chief Guest at the launch Professor Margaret Kobia, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Public Service, Gender, Senior Citizens Affairs & Special Programmes; noted that, “ The rigor with which data was collected and analyzed yields new insights on the impact of diversity and how to make diversity work. We all stand to learn from the authors’ methodology and findings. At a minimum, future sustainability and financial success demand representation, equity, and inclusion.”
Dr. Muriithi Ndegwa CEO, KIM, explained, “We recognize that diversity and inclusion are essential components of a Company’s leadership and governance. As champions of best practice in governance and management, KIM has made substantial progress over the years; and now we are intensifying our efforts to create a more inclusive, diverse, and supportive community.”
Geoffrey Odundo, Chief Executive, NSE commented: “Diversity in the corporate world is a true developmental issue which needs to be addressed and embraced in Kenya. Tackling gender equality will unlock billions of shillings which is currently unrealized economic value in our country. The NSE is playing its part by continuously supporting research on gender equality matters such as this Board Diversity Report, which we believe will bring out real issues that need to be addressed to attain gender equality in our market.”
Eva Muraya; KEPSA Gender and SMEs Director stated that, “We are confident that the results of this study, undertaken to realize the shared value in the potential of our organizations, will go a long way in strengthening the evidence-base to inform scale up, and progressively boost the ambition for attainment of optimal diversity and inclusion in both public and private institutions.”
Makena Mworia, Interim Chair, NFNV commended KIM for the publication of the report, terming it as a crucial element in helping identify the gaps, design initiatives and collaborate with appropriate partners to fill them. She added: “As a pan-African network that advocates for gender equality and raising the visibility and influence of women, NFNV remains steadfast in championing diversity, equity and inclusion in the boardroom and the workplace.”