The role of corporate social responsibility in the achievement of the gender equality goal of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs): a critical analysis
The achievement of gender equality is paramount to the achievement of development. However, according to the 2003, Millennium Development Goals progress report for Kenya, the achievement of the gender equality goal of the MDGs is still far from being realized. Gender inequality still persists. There is no region in Kenya where women are equal to men in legal, social and economic rights. Glaring gender gaps exist in access to and control of resources, in economic opportunities and in power and political voice. Overall, women continue to have less access to social services and productive resources than men. This study aimed at describing the nature of CSR activities in Kenya and show how these activities contribute towards the achievement of the gender equality goal of the MDGs. It examined the various CSR activities of various organizations and sought to place these activities into each of the MDGs so as to bring out their contribution to the achievement of gender equality. 10 companies within a radius of 20 km from KICC were chosen for this study. The area was chosen due to the fact that it has representation of many companies that are engaged in CSR activities and also because of its proximity and accessibility. Companies were chosen based on their CSR record and willingness to provide information. Interviews were carried out for CSR officers of companies and representatives of communities that have benefited from CSR activities. Self administered questionnaires were also filled by some CSR officers. Both qualitative and quantitative techniques were used. Key findings indicate that companies are involved in various CSR activities including poverty eradication, education, health and environmental sustainability. However, these activities are not carried out with focus on the MDGS. Furthermore, there is little evidence that these activities are geared towards the achievement of the gender equality goal. What is evident is that companies are supporting certain activities for girls,women or women groups, the gender recovery centre specifically but not within the broader goal of achieving gender equality. The aims and goals of their CSR efforts are to enhance their profile and ultimately to improve profitability.