8 reasons why Kenyan women in the workplace may not thrive

A Girlfriends Confidential Talk is a social meet-up that takes place every few months in Nairobi.

The hang-out brings together women from all walks of life; different ages, professions, marital status, cultural backgrounds, you name it.

Citizen TV’s Victoria Rubadiri is the brains behind the event.

On Saturday, her main guest was Mwikali Muthiani, a Human Resource practitioner with over 20 years experience in the field.

Mwikali is also the Board Chairperson of Amnesty International and founder of MillenialHR, a consultancy firm.

“My goal is to empower employees especially women navigate their careers for success. Many never rise to the top and one who has been privileged to do so often lacks the opportunity to share her experience with other women,” Ms. Muthiani said on Saturday.

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Previous guests include Dr. Chris Hart, Jackson Biko, Oyunga Pala and Carolyne Musyoka.

The meetup that started off at the Village Market rooftop has grown in leaps and bounds over the years and is now hosted at the Trademark Hotel in Gigiri.

At the weekend, the topic What challenges do women in the workplace face? took centre stage with the mostly female audience posing questions as to how such issues can be addressed.

One of the participants at the Girlfriends Confidential Talk. Photo/COURTESY/JERRY OTIENO

According to Ms. Muthiani, some of the barriers facing women in the workplace include:

The participants at the Girlfriends Confidential Talk. Photo/COURTESY/JERRY OTIENO

How women in the workplace can deal with these challenges:

  1. Speak Out: When you have an opportunity, share your vision and aspirations to your boss and colleagues in the work place. Speaking out will help you remain challenged to achieve your goals.
  2. Push Back: In life, there will always be politics. While you’re navigating your career, start pushing back when you feel like you are being walked over.
  3. Be Aggressive: It may be seen that us women shouldn’t be aggressive but sometimes this aggressiveness your career can start to grow.
  4. Change Your Situation: Remember that while at work, you are under a labour contract. If you are not happy, it is always okay to leave and find a place where your worth is acknowledged.
  5. Show Initiative: Be specific with the roles you are comfortable doing and those you are not. Showing initiative will open more doors within the workplace and allow you to grow in your career.
  6. Support Other Women: Talk to the other women in the workplace to support each other; learn how you can make the best experience for each other during the time you’re together.
  7. Negotiate For Pay Rise: Know the benchmark salary of your position in the market. Do not negotiate based on your personal budget. Believe in your worth. Organisations will fight to keep you when you show you are worth the salary you ask for.
  8. Work/Life Balance: We should remember the distinction between the two roles. Having to balance them doesn’t mean we have to let one suffer for the other.

Overall, Ms. Muthiani says we are all human and sometimes may make mistakes as we maneuver our way through the work place.

“Although sometimes this may happen and we may make mistakes, we shouldn’t feel discouraged. As we put in the effort to manage our work/life balance we will find that our careers and families grow,” she added.

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