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UN Launches Empowerment Tool To Mint More Female Executives

A United Nations-backed network has launched a gender equality programme in Nairobi to quicken the growth of women representation in businesses and leadership amid a widening economic gender gap estimated to take 257 years to close.

Global Compact Network Kenya on Wednesday launched the target gender equality – a campaign to mobilize and support local companies in their drive towards gender parity and inclusion.

“The economic gender gap is widening and will now take 257 years to close. Business must help reverse this trend and take bold action to advance gender equality. This is the moment to ensure that targets on women’s participation are included as part of balanced scorecards and corporate strategies in all companies.” said Lise Kingo, CEO and Executive Director of the UN Global Compact during launch in Nairobi. 

The launch comes barely a month after Oxfam International released a report revealing that the 22 richest men in the world hold more wealth than all the women combined in Africa.

Women have long grappled with gender pay gaps alongside lower representation on boards and management positions. But the tide has in recent years been turning in their favour, albeit slowly amid calls by international organisations for parity as a socioeconomic development tool.

In corporate Kenya, female executives account for only 22 percent of leadership positions. And out of the 62 companies listed on the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE), only four are headed by women.

The target gender equality is open to all member firms of the Global Compact Network Kenya.

Through the accelerator programme, firms in Kenya will benefit through facilitated performance analysis, capacity building workshops, peer-to-peer learning and opportunities to engage in multi-stakeholder dialogue at the country-level.

It builds on the United Nations Global Compact’s mission to promote women’s empowerment principles by helping companies set concrete targets around advancing women’s leadership in their organisations, starting with board and executive management levels. 

This initiative will be rolled out in twenty countries in 2020.

Global Compact Network Kenya (GCNK) is the local network of the United Nations Global Compact, mandated to spearhead and catalyze actions aimed at promoting good business practices in Kenya. This is through building capacity and raising awareness of ethics, integrity, and responsible business in furtherance of the 10 principles of the United Nations Global Compact and the Sustainable Development Goals.

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