By George Ngigi

Women hold about 29 per cent of top jobs in the banking sector, showing there is room for more gender inclusion.

A survey by the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) further shows that women occupied 20 per cent of board positions with only two serving as chairpersons. The survey included 20 banks.

Low gender diversity in the financial sector has been cited as depriving the sector of alternative views to issues affecting it.

“Kenya is ranked sixth in Africa in terms of gender inclusivity but our economy is ranked fourth – which means we have work to do,” said CBK’s deputy governor Sheila M’Mbijiwe.

There are currently three women chief executive in the sector which has 43 licensed players. The three are Nasim Devji of DTB, Joyce-Ann Wainaina of Citibank and Ibukunoluwa Odegbaike of Guaranty Trust Bank.

Anne Mutahi chairs Standard Chartered while Teresia Mutegi heads the board of Spire Bank.

Three banks of the seven large lenders in the country —KCB, Co-operative bank and Barclays — disclose the gender profile of their staff in their annual reports.

Women constitute 48 per cent of Barclay’s 2,762 employees, 43 per cent of Co-op’s 3,948 and 42 per cent of KCB’s 6,082 permanent workers. Barclays has increased the top management positions occupied by women to 34 per cent from 25 per cent in 2014.

Barclays, which also boasts a 50/50 gender representation at board level attributed the growth of women to targeted leadership training programme.Co-op, ranked among large banks, has 20 women in its senior management, taking 32 per cent of the available slots.

Co-op Bank showed that the women are more loyal to the bank than men with their average term of office being 6.3 years compared to men’s 5.4 years.KCB noted that of the 272 staff exits last year women constituted 38 per cent which is lower than their proportionate population in the bank.

Banks disclosed they were putting deliberate policies to drive women into senior positions. Citibank said it now required a woman to be part of an interview panel for senior positions in order to ease pressure on female interviewees facing a male panel.

Notably the central bank used information available on company profiles which could have led to a bias towards large and medium-sized banks since small banks disclose limited information on their management and boards.

A survey conducted in Britain showed women occupied 32 per cent of banking jobs with 19 per cent in senior management position.

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