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Top 40 under 40 women

EDITOR'S NOTE: How the Top 40 were picked

BD’s TOP 40 Under 40 is an annual ranking of women who have risen to occupy positions of influence in society before the age of 40 and are therefore headed for top careers in the next decade.

It has been said that what sets societies apart in terms of human and economic development is the lack of diversity (especially on gender) in key decision making positions – be it in business or public policy. 

The reality in Kenya is, however, that a growing number of women have stood their ground and are making it in nearly every segment of the economy – including the corporate world, government, and enterprise.

These are the women whose achievements we hope to highlight and celebrate because it is our view that by highlighting their achievement, we encourage other ambitious women to meet the challenges and that many still face in their bid to reach the summit of their careers and aspirations.

Highlighting the achievements of these high performing women who are mostly in their 30s we contribute to the revolution that is taking place in Kenya’s social and economic space and hopefully contribute to the much desired advancement of our society.   

In picking the winners therefore, the panel strives to make a judgment call based on what the candidates have achieved (their influence in society so far that qualifies them as a Top under 40 woman) and the potential they have to scale the ladder in the post 40 career path.

The Criteria:

Judging of the entries is therefore divided into two segments:


Segment A: Measuring Influence (power)

In other words we are saying this is the list of Kenya’s most influential women under 40.

How do we measure influence/power;

i) If in the corporate world/government agency, how highly placed is the position the candidate occupies where they work? This means that a woman managing director should score higher marks than a woman occupying a position that reports to the chief executive.

ii)  How big is the company that the candidate is leading or works for. This can be measured through parameters like capitalisation if a listed company, assets, annual revenue, number of employees or profits.

iii)  How large is the territory covered? A woman heading a business or a segment of a business that covers the whole of Africa/East Africa should score more than those whose territory is confined to Kenya or even Nairobi alone.

iv) If in the corporate world, how quickly have they moved up the ladder?

v)  What is the size of the operation they head? By budget, number of people reporting to them/territory covered.

vi) What significant achievement have they made in the position since taking over?
vii) Any unique thing that makes them stand out. Candidates score points if they have been innovators in any sector of the economy e.g. discovered a new variety of sweet potato or banana that is pest or drought resistant, founded a business with tangible evidence of success such as growth in revenue, profits, number of employees or helping other members of society make a living. Or if they are in sectors that have been dominated by men such as piloting, engineering,

viii) What impact has the woman had on society. Are there any women who attest to have done something because they were inspired by the candidate. Are they in charity work whose fruits can be seen?

Segment B: Potential (the future)

i) Given the current achievements where is the candidate likely to be in the next three to five years. If they are innovators, is their work likely to turn into the next facebook/twitter or the silver bullet that will sort out Kenya’s perennial food shortages?

ii)   If in the corporate world; Is the candidate positioned for a higher position bigger territory or larger budget?

Here are highlights of key stories in the download:

Best Paying Jobs for Women
Technology makes a big leap for women on the fast lane, but survey still finds being in the corner office the best paying job in
many countries across the globe

Maternity law scores own goal for working women
LARISA BROWN finds that the maternity leave provided for in Kenya’s labour laws has erected a new obstacle to women’s survival in the corporate world.

We need more women leaders, how do we get them?
BARBARA ADACHI argues that women already constitute a large fraction of the workforce and providing room for them to develop careers in whatever direction they want is the key to getting them into leadership positions.

Top 40 under 40 women

Read on the selected finalists of this years Top 40 Under 40 women in corporate Kenya

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