Gender factor in economic governance of Africa: a case study of Kenya’s banking institutions
Kimawachi, Velda N
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The researcher set out to investigate the gender factor in the economic governance of Africa with a case study of Kenya’s financial institution-KCB Bank Group. The study was guided by the following specific objectives: to establish the gender ratio, role and status within KCB Bank Group; to investigate socio-economic and political barriers to women advancement in their careers within KCB Bank Group and to determine whether KCB Bank Group has gender-related mechanisms, policies and programs in its structure in order to enhance a gender inclusive culture in its functions in decision making. Liberal feminism theory guided this study while the basic assumptions that guided my questionnaire and data findings were as follows: - (i.) The numbers, location, and status of men and women in the banking sector determines the economic growth and development in Africa (ii.)Socio-economic and cultural barriers undermine gender equity, gender equality and development (iii.)Lack of strong and viable gender-related mechanisms, policies and gender awareness-raising programs undermine equality in economic governance. The study was carried out within KCB Bank Group’s Kenya Branches and its Subsidiaries. The respondents comprised of the management, section heads or supervisors and clerical staff involving both male and female employees. A questionnaire and structured interview were used to collect primary data from the respondents while books, journals, newspapers, previous researched articles largely molded secondary data for validity sake. The data analysis and presentation entails tables, charts, and graphs to tabulate the research findings. Research findings:-The results of the study indicate that majority of the respondents affirmed that the ratio of females is more than that of males in the banking sector. The respondents also felt that since the males dominate the top management levels, their roles and status carry more muscle in terms of status enhancing as compared to the female employees. Further, the respondents diversely indicated that inhibiting factors for females progressing to the top management were as follows:-negative social perception on women in leadership, women fear to take risks, lack of self-belief and self-drive, educational barriers, age barriers, lack of policies and rules that promote gender equality in levels of seniority and political influences that emanate from double-speak mentality. In regard to gender-equity related mechanisms, policies and gender-awareness raising programs, 90 percent of the employees were aware of the existence of mechanisms, policies and programs that address gender discrimination, unfair treatment and harassment. Moreover, KCB Bank Group launched a ‘women in leadership development’ program that seeks to empower female employees in an effort to help them progress in their careers. Better still, nursing mothers within KCB Bank’s workforce have been granted flexible time where they can leave the office one hour earlier than the normal official time in order to take care of their babies and the family as a whole. The researcher’s recommendation entails the need for change of organizational attitude and employer involvement in talent coaching as well as allowing flexibilities with a touch of technological innovations that could introduce nursing mothers (employees) to work from home away from the office-based face to face culture. This strategy will enable female employees to balance the twin-role of worker and care-giver and better still more productive in their responsibilities. The researcher proposes the following for further research:-the effects of gender representation in decision making positions in the financial sector.
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