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Women in boardrooms on the rise

Kenyan boardrooms of listed firms have been trying to shed their image as nearly all-male clubs, with more women today taking up sits. But while boardroom representation may be improving, the number of women chairing Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) listed companies is still low.

According to a report by Kenya Institute of Management (KIM) report, board chairperson’s positions are heavily skewed towards the male gender, with only four companies out of 52 public quoted companies having women chairpersons.

The report, Board Diversity and Inclusion 2017, which took a period of two years to compile, shows an increase in women representation in the 52 listed companies’ boardrooms that were sampled, at 21 per cent this year, up from 18 per cent in 2015 and 12 per cent in 2012.

The research had initially targeted 62 NSE-listed firms. More worrying, the report found that most public listed companies had low representation of women in senior positions while those occupying board’s positions had an average age of 52 years, locking out the millennial’s (aged 18 to 35years) who make up the world’s biggest demographic group and are expected to take up 50 per cent of the workforce by 2020.

On the skills front, the survey found that finance and business based professions continue to dominate boardrooms with accountants, auditors, bankers and investment sector professionals occupying 40 per cent of the slots.

Science, technology and mathematics-based careers had less than 10 per cent women representation. KIM Chief Executive Muriithi Ndegwa (pictured right with Capital Markets Authority Chief Executive Paul Muthaura) called for firms to grow the number of women in boardrooms.

“We believe that more can and needs to be done. We therefore wish to call upon institutions both listed or not, private and public to join in the movement towards more diverse boards both in conversation and in action,” he said.

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