In Summary
  • If the President wants to deliver on his campaign promises, then he will ignore women at his own peril.

  • The reasons why Mr Kenyatta needs to have at least 10 women in his Cabinet run deeper than the gender question.

  • Studies have shown that companies with more women in top management performed consistently better than those with fewer women.

  • The President has the unique opportunity to leverage on the great talents of these educated and innovative Kenyan women.

As President Uhuru Kenyatta prepares to name his Cabinet — which he says he will name “in a few weeks” — there is one group that he must consider; women.

We are not having another tired “two-thirds majority” debate. Neither am I holding brief for any feminist organisation. I am speaking based on facts, logic and most importantly, truth.

If the President wants to deliver on his campaign promises, then he will ignore women at his own peril. As he takes on his second and final term, he will need not only the support but also the leadership of women at the highest echelons of power in this country and the Cabinet is a great place to start.

I am not talking about the paltry five women out of a Cabinet of 20 that we have right now. For us to feel the full effect of the leadership of women in government we will require at the very least, 10 women out of the 20 (or 22) Cabinet positions available. 

GENDER QUESTION

The reasons why Mr Kenyatta needs to have at least 10 women in his Cabinet run deeper than the gender question. This is about performance.

Studies have shown that companies with more women in top management — in the C-suites and on the boards — performed consistently better than those with fewer women. 

One such study was conducted in 2016. It was commissioned by Ernst & Young and conducted by Peterson Institute for International Economics.

It surveyed 21,980 companies across 91 countries and found that companies with 30 per cent female representation increased their profits by 15 per cent.

Furthermore, the anniversary publication of McKinsey&Company “Women Matter” report published in October last year, found “a strong correlation between the presence of women in a company’s top management and better financial results.” The finding was the culmination of studies conducted over 10 years.

PROFITS

Even in Africa, the McKinsey&Company Women Matter: Africa report published in August 2016 found that African companies with “at least a quarter share of women” on their boards registered profits that were 20 per cent higher than average. The McKinsey October 2017 report also found that women exhibit some leadership behaviours more frequently than their male counterparts. The behaviours include inspiration, people development, efficient communication and participative decision-making.

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