Determinants of women participation in leadership positions in National Hospital Insurance Fund in Garissa County, Kenya
The purpose of this study was to establish the determinants of women participation in leadership positions in national hospital insurance fund in Garissa County, Kenya. The study was guided by the following research objectives. The objectives sought to assess how personal characteristics such as gender, level of education, marital status affect women in administration at the NHIF; establish how cultural factors affect women in administration at the NHIF; determine how gender roles affect women in administration at the NHIF in Garissa County and lastly assess how family responsibilities affect women in administration at the NHIF in Garissa County. The study employed both qualitative and quantitative approaches. The sample was therefore by 30 respondents. Data were collected by use of questionnaire and focus group discusses and was analysed by use of qualitative and quantitative techniques. Majority of the employee said that their community, cultural factors hinder women from leadership and husbands may feel threatened if their wives join leadership. It was also revealed that the employees agreed that gender roles hinder women from taking up leadership positions. Findings showed that majority 76.7% of employees were for the opinion that women who involved themselves in leadership were despised by other women. Pressure to run their home, look after children and care for the husband and family limited women to participate in leadership positions. Finding also revealed that majority of the employee said that women are unable to balance family responsibility and leadership positions. Employee agreed that men felt that women should stay at home while they earn for the family and women are not able to perform well in leadership since they have many family responsibilities. They also agreed that women participation in house roles make them disadvantaged and not venture into leadership. Further data revealed that employee agreed that lack of women empowerment hinder them from venturing into leadership, women who join leadership are said to be competing with men and see themselves as incompetent as leaders. The study revealed that gender stereotypes viewed women as more expressive, less independent, more emotional, less logical, less quantitatively oriented and more participative than men. Men, on the other hand, were more often perceived as lacking interpersonal sensitivity and warmth, less expressive, less apt to ask for directions, more quantitatively oriented and more autocratic and directive than women. Lastly findings revealed that family issues, individual factors (gender-imposed) and organizational factors and education of the girl child and capacity building, to achieve economic empowerment hinder women to venture into leadership. In the light of the research findings it was recommended that women should be socially empowered to change their attitude towards themselves and hence take up leadership positions. It was also recommended that there is need for men to see the need to share gender responsibility so as to give women a change to participate in leadership positions. There is also need to have capacity building for women so that they can overcome the different challenges they face so that they can take up leadership positions. Taking the limitations and delimitations of the study, it was suggested that a study on influence of government policy on gender empowerment and its effect on women participation in leadership positions should be conducted and since the study was taken in one administrative county, there is need to carry out a similar study in another area so as to compare the findings.