Barclays Bank of Kenya (BBK) in partnership with United Kingdom Trade and investment (UKTI), and of Kenya Association Women Business Owners (KAWBO), have jointly launched a women mentorship programme which is targeting to double the number of women in the boards of Kenya’s listed companies from 12pc to 24pc by 2017.
The programme will offer women job shadow opportunities with senior executives working with global organizations which will offer beneficiaries on the job board training.
It will also offer placement opportunities with Small and Medium Sized (SME) boards which will allow participants the opportunity to build their profiles while the SMEs will get to benefit from the expertise the new board members will bring.
“Our ultimate intention is to move more women from the bottom and middle tier levels of management to the decision making table. Through this mentorship programme, and indeed many other initiatives, I believe we are well on our way there,” said BBK Managing Director Jeremy Awori.
Mr. Awori was speaking at the Women in Business Forum which was attended by Lord Mayor of London Fiona Woolf, Devolution and Planning Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru and Kenya’s top women leaders.
KAWBO Chairperson Eva Muraya said the Plus Two Campaign aims to identify, nurture and place at least 800 women in public service, private sector and not-for-profit boards in Kenya in the next 5 years.
“We have felt the need to create awareness around the benefits of board diversity and build aspiration among women to join and meaningfully participate at board level. We will work with at least 10 private, public, and not-for profit institutions to develop and apply voluntary mechanisms of increasing the number of women on their boards in the next 5 years,” said Ms. Muraya.
Out of the 57 companies listed at the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) 34 do not have a woman on their board while only 54 out of the 449 seats are women-led at a time when the Capital Markets Authority (CMA) is pushing for mandatory gender caps.
BBK, which is the first listed company to have a 50 per cent representation to the board is sponsoring a series of forums targeting the Chairpersons, Chief Executive Officers, Company Secretaries and Seniour directors to a tune of KES 1 Million. The conversations will be supported by the NSE to foster best practices in corporate governance during the course of 2014 and 2015.