The extent of implementation of gender mainstreaming policy in human resource management at Jomo Kenyatta university of agriculture and technology
Gender gaps in employment opportunities and economic investment patterns in Kenya have continued to widen across all sectors of the economy and at various levels of development intervention. Women and girls bear the largest and most direct costs of these inequalities but the costs cut broadly across the society ultimately harming everyone. In 2007 the president of Kenya called for 30% women representation in all public sectors. In the same year, all ministries and parastatals were asked to ensure that gender concerns are integrated into policy formulation and sector based planning, development and programming and in the new promulgated Constitution (2010), the principle of gender equality is emphasized as a basic requirement for equal enjoyment of rights and freedoms. The research objective was to explore the extent of implementation of gender mainstreaming in Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology in relation to these guidelines and the research design was a case study. Primary data was collected using interview guide while secondary data was collected from the human resource and gender policy manuals, the university website as well as pamphlets and was analysed using content analysis. Results of the study identified that the university had taken major steps to mainstream gender. It has an established gender and mentoring office and a Gender Advisory Board which command various mandate on gender issues guided by a well laid down gender policy. This is an indication of the university’s commitment to the transformation process as well as promoting the university’s staff in understanding of the guiding principles within the entire organization. Although the percentage of men to women still remains relatively low at 60.5% and 39.5% respectively, it surpasses the 30% legal requirement and therefore the efforts in place can not be overlooked. It has engaged in a portfolio of human resource activities in the areas of recruitment, selection, retention, performance appraisal, communication as well as employee relations that are mutually reinforcing as opposed to contradictory in ensuring that gender mainstreaming is enforced. There is an observable effort to have a portfolio of both male and female in management and senior positions. The university appreciates the fact that women in various positions make invaluable contributions and retaining them is considered to be important. A number of challenges were observed such as inadequate funding, lack of gender sensitive indicators, lack of well placed strategies for frequent monitoring and evaluation of gender mainstreaming and lack of well placed gender audits to verify program expenditure and benefits and its impacts on men and women. Social cultural factors also had a negative role to play. It is important that the university champion all the appropriate and necessary affirmative action interventions to improve the situation. Serious monitoring and evaluation of gender mainstreaming activities in all departments is necessary and more budget allocation is needed to support strategic planning process and implementation of gender mainstreaming activities such as sensitization and gender training.