The World Bank has asked Kenya to consider extending paid maternity leaves for mothers by two weeks among a raft of proposals by the multilateral lender to address gender gaps.
The World Bank Group’s Women, Business and the Law Index shows women in Kenya enjoy only 81 percent of the legal rights of men, with inequalities in areas of entrepreneurship, parenthood, assets, and pensions.
The data shows Kenya scored 80.6 out of 100, higher than the average score for Eastern and Southern Africa of 74.1.
“To address these gaps, Kenya may wish to consider implementing policies such as at least 14 weeks of paid leave for mothers, ensuring that this is paid by the government...,” read a statement from the World Bank on Tuesday.
Kenya’s law allows a fully paid three-month maternity leave for mothers nursing their own pregnancies and a two-week paternity break for fathers.
Female teachers are eligible for fully paid four months of maternity leave exclusive of annual leave, meaning they enjoy one of the best maternity packages in the civil service.
With an 80.6 score, Kenya stands well compared to the regional average of 72.6 observed across Sub-Saharan Africa.
Kenya’s score has improved over the years, assisted by the enactment of legislation on domestic violence, the prohibition of gender discrimination in employment, and the mandate of equal remuneration for work of equal value.