Kenyan listed companies outperform global counterparts in workplace gender equality

By / November 13, 2019 : 9:45 / BUSINESS, Corporate News / No Comments
Kenyan listed companies outperform global counterparts in workplace gender equality

Equileap has published, in partnership with New Faces New Voices and Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE), its Special Report on Gender Equality in Kenya, assessing 60 leading companies on workplace equality.



This report offers a ranking and a comparative analysis of gender equality across all listed companies in Kenya, which are some of the largest employers in the country. Equileap, an organisation aiming to accelerate progress towards gender equality in the workplace, conducted the research using its comprehensive Gender Equality Scorecard©.



The report was released during a launch event organized in Nairobi which brought together senior executives of listed companies, government officials and non–government officials keen on enhancing gender equality in Kenya.

Diana van Maasdijk, CEO at Equileap, explained:

“The report shows that Kenyan listed companies are outperforming their global counterparts in certain areas, with more female CEOs than the FTSE 100 for instance. However, this stronger female leadership and commitment to gender equality still needs to be accompanied by greater transparency in areas such as the gender pay gap, which currently goes undisclosed in Kenya.”


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Unlike any other equality research, Equileap uses the world’s first in-depth cross-sector ranking system to assess and monitor thousands of companies across the globe. The Equileap methodology skews towards companies that are more transparent and make their data publicly available. 


Equileap firmly believes that transparency, and acknowledging where there are problems, is the first step towards taking action to close the global gender gap. For this Special Report, Equileap used its proprietary Gender Equality Scorecard™ of 19 criteria (including gender balance across the workforce, the gender pay gap, paid parental leave and anti-sexual harassment policies).


According to the report, Standard Chartered Kenya is the top-ranked company in Kenya, with a gender equality score of 63%. It would rank within the Top 50 companies globally, which scored 61% or above in Equileap’s  2019 Global Gender Equality Report published in October 2019.

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WPP Scangroup (63%,) ranked 2nd, is one of two companies that has gender balance at three out of four organisational levels – executive leadership, senior management, and total workforce. Gender balance on the board needs to be improved (11%).


Barclays Bank of Kenya (61%,) ranked 4th, and is the second company that has gender balance at three out of four levels – board, senior management and total workforce but can improve its gender balance on the executive (20%.)

East African Breweries (44%,) ranked 10th and leads the way for parental leave, with the most generous programme of paid leave for primary and secondary carers (26 and four weeks respectively.)


Andia Chakava, Chairperson, New Faces New Voices (Kenya Chapter), added:

“With forecasts anticipating a dramatic growth of the proportion of women working in the formal economy in the next twenty years, the objective of this report is to help business leaders understand the diversity of their organisations and policymakers to better target gender-focused initiatives.”


On gender balance in leadership and work force, the report found that women account for 23% of board members. The proportion of women on the board in Kenya continues to improve – it has slightly increased since 2017 and has (almost) doubled since 2012.

L-R: Andia Chakava, Chairperson, New Faces New Voices (Kenya Chapter), CAS Ministry of Public Service Youth and Gender Hon Rachel Shebesh and NSE CEO Geoffrey Odundo during the launch of Gender Equality Report of NSE Listed Companies. PHOTO/COURTESY

Seven companies (12%) have a female CEO: BOC Kenya, British American Tobacco Kenya, DTB Kenya, Eveready East Africa, KenGen, Limuru Tea, and STANLIB Fahari I-REIT. In comparison, there are 7 female CEOs in the FTSE 100 companies (7%) and 33 female CEOs in Fortune 500 companies (7%.)

Further, the report notes that no company achieves gender balance at all four levels: board, executive, senior management and workforce. Only three companies achieve gender balance at three of the four levels: Barclays Bank of Kenya, Stanbic Holdings, and WPP Scangroup.


The report, which covered the areas of Equal compensation & work life balance also found that just four companies offer employees flexibility in both hours and location – they are the Top 4 in the overall ranking – Standard Chartered Bank Kenya, WPP Scangroup, Safaricom, and Barclays Bank of Kenya.


Geoffrey Odundo, Chief Executive, Nairobi Securities Exchange, commented:

“Addressing gender equality will unlock trillions of dollars of currently unrealised economic value across the globe. The NSE is playing its part by continuously supporting research on gender equality issues such as this Equileap Report, which we believe will bring out real issues that need to be addressed to attain gender equality in our market.”


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