Investing in women gives the best Returns

Published on Jan. 14, 2020, 7:43 a.m.

Investing in Women gives the best Return
The Bill of Rights in the Kenyan Constitution states that every person is equal before the law and has the right to equal treatment, including the right to equal opportunities in the political, economic, cultural and social sphere.

Gender equality has been a topic of discussion for the longest time in Kenya and in Africa as a whole. For the longest time, men have been on the forefront in education, leadership and even employment opportunities.  A lot more needs to be done to ensure that women are included in these spheres as well as feel equal and secure.

Even in the colonial era, there was hardly any inclusion of women in the political arena. Only one woman by the name Mama Priscilla Ingasiani Abwao managed to sit on the Legislative Council with five other men where she advocated strongly for women rights. This shows the depths to which women went into participating in decision making.

Women and girls hold a lot of untapped potential. According to USAID’s Gender Based Violence Toolkit, women and girls living in rural areas spend a lot of time on household chores which limits school attendance and work options. They have less access to land tenure, education and employment opportunities.

The UK Government is recognised worldwide as a leader on gender equality with DFID being one of the strongest advocates in Kenya. The UK Government’s Manifesto commits to empowering women and girls across the world. DFID’s Strategic Vision for Gender Equality states that the world must grasp the opportunity that gender equality presents. To educate a woman is to educate the entire generation. If all women and girls had an education and access to new technologies, they could move into employment and more leadership roles. The benefits would be felt not only by individuals but at a scale and by the whole community.

In the ongoing Australia bush fires, ladies from the Australian Islamic Centre filled up five tracks with supplies and drove for 48 hours to help the victims of the misfortune. They in turn cooked meals for the 150 fighters that were deeply involved in the rescue mission.

This just goes to show how important women are to the society.

Diageo, which is a renown UK company, has been ranked two times in a row as the number one business in the UK for gender equality according to the Equileap 2019 Gender quality Report and Ranking. Diageo has championed diversity in business and beyond. According to the Report, 44% of Diageo’s Board comprises of women and the company is working towards a senior leadership team of 40% women by 2020.

In Africa, Diageo operates as the East Africa Breweries Limited (EABL) in East Africa. The African Development Bank Survey done in 2015 ranked EABL as the firm with the highest representation of women directors.

A few organisations already have gender diversity policies in place. More companies should grasp the opportunity that gender equality presents. Investing in women has been known to give the best return. Economic growth would accelerate if women participated equally in labour markets.