Nakuru bill to force firms to ensure gender balance in senior positions

By FRANCIS MUREITHI
More by this Author

Employers in Nakuru County will be compelled to have a 50 per cent women representation in the decision-making structures of their firms if the county assembly approves a new Bill.

The 2014 Nakuru County Gender Equality and Women Empowerment Bill, if passed, will force employing agencies to comply with the law within one year.

Among others, the bill requires employers to submit their strategies on how they plan to implement the new law to the county executive committee member in charge.

The proposed bill, pending before the assembly, states that designated public and private entities must develop and implement plans and strategies to align their laws and policies with the new law within two years of its adoption.

CONTINUING INEQUALITIES

To ensure compliance, within a period of three years from the commencement of the Act, the entities would be required to establish a gender focal point and appoint suitable personnel at senior management level to assist the implementation of gender mainstreaming.

However, in case of non-compliance, the executive committee member responsible for Gender, Children, Youth and People with Disabilities may use any dispute-resolution mechanism to address the stalemate.

According to Jane Wambui Ngugi (Gilgil Ward), the chairperson of the assembly committee on labour and gender, the bill is meant to address continuing inequalities and poverty faced by women and governance challenges in the county.

“The proposed legislation does not aim to create new anti-gender discrimination but to introduce measures and targets to strengthen the existing legislation on the promotion of women empowerment and gender equality,” states the bill.

The bill also seeks to address the childbearing responsibilities of women to ensure they are not the cause of dropouts, particularly for young women and girls in the education system.

LAND REFORM

“To ensure easy access to healthcare including reproductive health, public bodies must within their available resources develop and implement a model for delivering women’s health care in compliance with the applicable legislation and international agreements such as the Millennium Declaration and Development goals,” it states.

Public entities will also be required to develop and implement plans to educate the public on practices that unfairly discriminate against women on the grounds of gender, including gender-based violence.

The Bill also wants public and private bodies to implement policies and programmes designed to protect and advance women who have been disadvantaged by unfair discrimination and exploitation in the labour market.

Some of the policies that the bill targets are economic and land-reform initiatives that benefit women and aim to promote their constitutional rights to own land.

Moreover, the bill compels public and private entities to develop and implement measures to facilitate sustainable livelihoods and decent work for women in rural areas and improve conditions for women farm workers.