Kenya trails East Africa for female senior public jobs

Kenya trails its neighbours in the share of women in Cabinet, parastatal directorships and top Civil Service jobs despite the Constitution providing that no gender should occupy more than two-thirds of State appointments, a new report shows.

The Commonwealth report says that Tanzania tops the east African region with 45 per cent of Cabinet posts held by women, followed by Uganda (37 per cent), Rwanda (35 per cent) and Kenya (33 per cent).

Only seven countries drawn from the 53 Commonwealth states have women occupying 30 per cent of Cabinet positions.

Sierra Leone was bottom in African with seven per cent of its positions being occupied by women while Malta is at the low end in Europe, also at seven per cent.

On parastatal board jobs, Kenya still lags behind its east African counterparts with women accounting for 28 per cent of directors while Rwanda and Tanzania have 30 per cent each.


Gender representation

The report also reviewed the top jobs in the Civil Service with a focus on heads of departments and directors.

Tanzania again topped the list among east African nations in this segment. It has women occupying 26 per cent of the available positions while Kenya and Rwanda tied at 23 per cent – which is below the legal threshold of one-third.

So far, Kenya is struggling to come up with a formula that will make Parliament compliant with one-third gender representation rule and there have been suggestions for nomination of extra MPs to meet the quota.

Speaking at the launch of the findings at a women’s leadership forum, National Gender and Equality Commission chairperson Winfred Lichuma said the status of women in Kenya in top leadership in government has improved.

“We are hoping the findings will help send a positive message on women leadership in Kenya,” she said.