Female workers at Equity Bank Kenya earn 52 percent less than their male counterparts in the same position, the bank has revealed in a new report covering pay parity.
Equity Group’s inaugural sustainability report shows the gender pay gap among its workforce in Kenya and Tanzania –tied at 52 percent— is the widest across its regional operations.
The pay disparity between genders is narrower in the bank’s other markets including the DRC, Rwanda, South Sudan and Uganda at 13, 22, 29 and 22 percent respectively.
The gender pay gap in Kenya has expanded in recent years from 31 percent in 2019 before rising to 43 and 46 percent respectively in 2020 and 2021 respectively.
This implies that female staff at the bank’s local arm have increasingly earned less compared to male colleagues in the same position.
The gender pay gap in Rwanda and Uganda has meanwhile reversed by narrowing from 57 and 56 percent respectively in 2019.
Equity’s gender pay gap is narrowest in DRC at 13 percent having improved from 33 percent in 2020.
“The DRC has significantly improved pay parity, with almost a one-on-one pay parity ratio achieved with a discrepancy of only 13 percent noted by the end of 2022,” the lender stated.
“South Sudan continues to exceed expectations in their efforts to address pay parity with the ratio reducing by 11 percent from 2021 to 2022.”
Equity Group says it continues to monitor its remuneration policy to bring the gender pay close to parity.
Gender pay parity has been cast into the limelight in recent years with investors and shareholders pushing for transparency and fairness in remuneration as part of sound corporate balance.
“Kenya and Uganda reported an increase in the disparity in pay between the genders. This will be closely monitored for all countries of operations to ensure the pay parity continues to improve across the group. The group also requires subsidiaries to conduct ongoing salary reviews to track the progress being made to address these pay gaps,” said Equity.
According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), women on average earn 20 percent less than men globally.
The gender pay gap stems from a cocktail of factors including underrepresentation of women in leadership, differing working hours, education, occupational stereotyping and time out from workforce which often weighs harder on women than men.
With women making up over half of the world population, the ILO reckons closing the gender pay gap would have substantive dividends for economies.
“The benefits of women earning the same as men include an increase in their purchasing power which helps stimulate consumer spending and the economy, " the ILO stated.
Across 2022, Equity Group posted a 21 percent year on year growth in full time jobs to 11,148 while contract employees grew by 47 percent to 1,025.