Equipping Young Women to Lead

By November 16, 2014 No Comments

new report released by the World Economic Forum ranked Kenya among the top 40 countries in the world when it comes to gender equality. The report was a welcome celebration of the efforts Kenya has made, making primary and secondary education accessible to and mandatory for all.

During a 3-day leadership training program organized by Akili Dada in partnership with Kenyatta University’s Africa Centre for Transformative and Inclusive leadership and the Emerging Leaders Foundation , Professor Elishiba Kimani highlighted a different set of statistics:

• 11% of the Directors of Company listed on the Nairobi Security Exchange are women.
• 3 CEOs of 54 Nairobi Security Exchange Listed Companies are women (4%).
• 29% of those earning a formal wage throughout the country are women.
• Women constitute 37% of Kenya’s lawyers. try are women.
• 69 out of 349 members of the National Assembly are women. Of those, only 16 are elected.
• Out of  47 Senators, 16 are women. Of those, all  are nominated to the Senate.
•There are 0 women govenors in Kenya.

Speaking to 25 female student leaders drawn from across the country and representing such institutions such as University of Nairobi, Kenyatta University and Mount Kenya University among others, Professor Elishiba encouraged the young women to stare down these statistics and take their place as leaders in the careers they pursue after university. The session focused on mentorship, self discovery, transformative leadership and entrepreneurship.

The dynamic student leaders engaged and readily participated, offering each other constructive feedback, praise and critique as part of a peer reviewing.One student leader, Juliette Achieng of Kenyatta University, said “The training will help me be a more effective leader in a big institution….It helped me in terms of self discovery…if you’d asked me before, I’d have told you I wanted to be something big (but) I didn’t know what.”

Another young leader, Winnie Kivingu of Mount Kenya University, said: “I’ve got a mentor. I’m happy about that. I’ve learned about entrepreneurship: how I can start a business, make it run, make it successful.”

Like Professor Kimani, we have every hope that it is young women like these who will take the country to gender parity in professional and political leadership.