Women economic empowerment in Kenya is backed by good laws on gender equality and the global Sustainable Development Goals that give countries defined objectives to be achieved.
Micro, small and medium enterprises in Kenya are at the front-line in creating employment and economic growth and should not not be left behind in the implementation of this agenda. Here is a list of a few ways your own business can contribute to women economic empowerment in Kenya:
We have celebrated the proportionate representation of men and women in small business ownership in Kenya. But when it comes to top corporate leadership, there remains plenty to bemoan. Your business can help stem the tide by ensuring recruitment, promotion and issue of more responsibility is based purely on merit. If it’s more than this then it punishes other hardworking women who opt, rightly so, not to take shortcuts. This will help in solving the ‘previous experience’ problem that hampers new women entrepreneurs.
This is a potential banana skin because it can create the perception of rewarding less productivity. To do it right, you must try new ways to organize staff beyond rigid norms on schedule and attire. Why are people even made to put on ties? One way workplaces do not contribute to women economic empowerment in Kenya is by punishing women who start families. Starting families requires these women to ‘step back’ on work but it should not be zero-sum neither should home duty be considered worthless. Today, there is a market value for home duty. For example, you probably pay someone to take part of the home duty burden.
I agree, it is difficult for your small businesses to get its hands on the best of high skilled labor. But do you even try and develop the employees you have through training? For us, it means better women entrepreneurs in future (when they leave your business ha!). They’ll be able to venture into more of the investor-preferred sectors. But for your business it means improved performance today. Development of your female employees, through training, is also a great retention strategy.
Most women typically find it difficult to speak up at work because of the negative stereotypes that come with. That is why we are forced to write lists on how women can negotiate better and discuss whether they make bad bosses. You can have an enterprise that is receptive of new ideas and that is mature enough to be above restriction to job titles. Seriously, almost everyone is going to a college or university, the top-down ordering people around is not going to work anymore. You have to show your idea is better.
Do you know any other ways small businesses can help in women economic empowerment in Kenya? Share with us on the comments below0