Socio-economic factors influencing women participation in trade union leadership: the case of Central Organization of Trade Onions, Nairobi county, Kenya
Women involvement and participation in leadership is important. Despite the efforts of affirmative action and the provisions of the Kenyan new constitution, women leadership in the country is still wanting. The top leadership of COTU (K) Secretariat is made up of two (2) women whereas the men are ten (10). This makes their bargaining power weak when it comes to addressing matters that pertains women. The consequences of not including the women in the leadership of trade unions is that all the decisions made by male leaders may be biased hence will put women in a disadvantaged position. The study sought to establish socioeconomic factors influencing women participation in trade union leadership the case of the Central Organization of Trade Unions in Nairobi County. Further, the research sought to establish the extent to which demographic characteristics influenced women participation in trade union leadership, determine the extent to which the levels of education, income and cultural traditions influenced women participation in trade union leadership in the study area. The purpose of the study was to establish the socio-economic factors influencing women participation in trade union leadership in Nairobi. This research was based on a descriptive survey design. At the same there was qualitative data because of the feedback the researcher received from the focus group discussions. Further, the study targeted a population of 210 that comprised of women leaders that was derived from different trade unions in Nairobi (Appendix III). The sample size was 136 which was selected using proportionate method. Questionnaires comprised of closed-ended questions (see appendix I) were used to gather quantitative data. The questionnaires were administered by the researcher and got the feedback from the respondents. The limitation was that the study only dealt with COTU-K in Nairobi as the study area. The data obtained was analyzed using descriptive statistics. Results of analysis were presented in frequency tables. In terms of demographic characteristics, the study investigated the age and found out that 47 (35.6%) were aged 18 – 30 years, whereas 35 (26.5%) were aged 31 – 40 years. 25 (18.9%) of the respondents were those with 41-50 age group. Those in the age group of 51-60 years represented 15 (11.4%) and 10 (7.6%) of the respondents were over 60 years of age. On marital status, 34 (25.8%) were single, 71 (53.8%) were married, 8 (6.1%) were separated, 12 (9.1%) were divorced and 7 (5.3%) were widowed. On the level of education, 16 (12.1%) had primary school as their highest level of education, 52 (39.4) had secondary school as their highest level of education, 38 (28.8%) had university as their highest level of education, 19 (14.4) had tertiary as their highest level of education and 7 (5.3%) did not indicate their highest level of education. In terms of the extent to which the level of education influences women participation in trade union leadership, 10. (7.6%) indicated that the level of education influenced women participation in trade union leadership to a limited extent, 9 (6.8%) to a moderate extent, 46 (34.8%) to a larger extent, 44 (33.3%) to a very large extent and 23 (17.4%) neutral. Regarding the extent to which the level of income influenced the participation of women in trade union leadership, 39 (29.5%) indicated to a limited extent the level of income influences women participation in trade union leadership, 31 (23.5%) to a moderate extent, 44 (33.3%) to a large extent and 18 (13.6%) to a very large extent. On the extent to which cultural tradition influences women participation in trade union leadership,104 (78.8%) indicated that cultural traditions influenced women participation in trade union leadership to a limited extent, 14 (10.6%) to a very large extent and 14 (10.6%) neutral. Recommendations for policy makers were that; the COTU (K) should enhance the participation of women leadership in trade union; they should educate the women leaders. COTU (K) should provide training in terms of capacity building in leadership skills so that they can equip themselves and be like their male counterparts and women leaders should be assigned more roles and responsibilities so that they can have experience in matters that pertains leadership. Since the research was based on only four variables, the researcher suggested that other variables be identified and researched on to establish their influence on women participation in trade union leadership.