Create quotas to boost women representation on boards, firm says

Create quotas to boost women representation on boards, firm says

Human resource practitioners are calling for the introduction of a quota system to guarantee women representation in company or institution boards.

This comes as corporate firms and state agencies are yet to comply with recommendations from the government to cede at least 30 percent of board seats to women.

Virtual HR Managing Director Gladys Ogallo said the quota system has the potential to alter the landscape of corporate governance in Kenya.

“While women population in Kenya stands at slightly more than 50 percent, this does not reflect in terms of leadership and executive representation. Such a law would help give women key decision making roles and work to the full advantage of the institutions that embrace them by exposing them to a wider pool of talent and ideas,’’ Mrs Ogallo said.

The trend for quota system for board representation has been growing rapidly in Europe.

Norway was the first to legislate boardroom quotas, joined by Spain, France and Iceland, which all set their minimums at 40 percent.

According to a survey recently conducted by the Kenya Institute of Management (KIM), only about 20 percent of the seats in State agencies and corporate boards in Kenya are held by women.

“The law can be implemented in phases. Phase one would have the country’s 50 biggest institutions implement the law over a period of one year so we can see how it comes through. Phase two would see other companies follow suit with agreed deadlines in place,” Mrs Ogallo added.

Some of the reasons the scales are tilted to the disadvantage of women are long board nomination processes and recycling women on boards, resulting in one woman being recruited to serve on multiple boards.

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