East Africa strides ahead on gender parity

Friday March 27 2020

Women march during a procession to mark the

Women march during a procession to mark the International Women's Day in Kisumu on March 12, 2020.  PHOTO | ONDARI OGEGA | NMG 

SARAH NANJALA
By SARAH NANJALA
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East Africa is ahead of the continent in gender equality, says a report by McKinsey Global Institute on the Power of parity in advancing women’s equality in Africa.

Rwanda leads with a gender parity score of 0.69, Ethiopia has a score of 0.63 while Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania have 0.62 each—which is slightly above the African average of 0.58.

According to the report, it will take Africa 142 years to attain gender parity with the current pace.

Current figures indicate countries in the southern part of Africa are the best performers, with Zimbabwe, Namibia and South Africa having a gender parity score of 0.66, 0.72 and 0.76 respectively.

However, West African countries seem to be lagging behind with most having a gender parity score less than 0.60. Among the worst performers are Niger with a score of 0.45, Mali at 0.46 and Mauritania at 0.46.

Women on boards

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McKinsey Global Institute used 15 indicators to determine the progress of countries in Africa towards gender equality. These indicators were based on dimensions surrounding gender equality at work, gender equality in society, access to essential services, physical security, and legal protection.

Although Kenya performs better than the African average in gender equality in society, it scores slightly below in gender equality at work.

The report shows that for every hour a man works in unpaid care, the average East Africa woman works 2.7 hours, which would explain why many women are forced to take up informal employment.

“Despite an increase in the number of women on boards, few women are taken up for line roles which matter for succession and promotion purposes resulting in a poor overall performance,” the report notes.

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