Gender Bias Against Women in the workplace

You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.”-Maya Angelou

Over 90% of women in sub-Saharan Africa presently work in the informal sector, a major problem for women’s rights. However, growth predictions over the next 20 years indicate that the share of Kenyan women working in the formal economy will increase significantly. A woman will have to work harder as compared to the man to prove themselves worthy of respect in society. Workplace disparities must be identified and addressed to make the most of this shift for women and girls.

What does the law say?

  • Section 5(3) of the employment act 2007 states an employer shall promote equal opportunity in employment and strive to eliminate discrimination in any employment policy or practice.
  •  No employer shall discriminate directly or indirectly, against an employee or prospective employee or harass an employee or prospective employee on grounds of race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or others opinion, nationality, ethnic or social origin, disability, pregnancy, mental status or HIV status. 
  • The act also states that a potential employee is under no obligation to disclose their pregnancy, and they should not be interrogated about it nor asked to take a pregnancy test. The only exception is where the inherent requirements of the job necessitate disclosure because of the potential danger that the work might impose on the child. 
  • The law prohibits discrimination against an employee or prospective employee on the grounds of pregnancy. 

However, this is not the case in the real employment world. Once a lady is pregnant, they are less likely to land a decent corporate job as they are deemed a liability. Unfortunately, once a potential employee discloses, they are pregnant and fails to secure a job, it is impossible to prove that the failure was related to the pregnancy. In Kenya, women are victims of gender bias since they are not offered similar opportunities as their male counterparts.

Reasons for Gender Bias Prevalence

Women become impoverished citizens when their economic rights and involvement are restricted. Women are not able to fulfill their full potential and contribute to the progress of their country, they are held back by gender stereotypes that prevent them from doing so.

  •  As a result of gender discrimination, males tend to regulate women’s participation in the workplace. 
  • Maternity leave has been used as a reason to deny women prominent jobs in Kenya. Certain companies are more interested in hiring women that have previously had children or those that say they do not really plan on having children in the future.
  • Kenya’s employment regulations are gender-neutral, making female workers more susceptible to male chauvinism and other types of discrimination.
  • Gender disparity exists due to Kenyan society’s socialization of its members. The different types of societal roles assigned to men and women have resulted in inequalities. 

In a patriarchal country like Kenya, you could be regarded as less important than men. You may be denied privileges that are freely granted to men. These disadvantages promote male dominance and female victimization, resulting in gender inequality. This is the hard truth we have learned to live within our society. However, there is evidence that women do excel to get heights if only they were given the opportunity, Hence keep pushing to succeed. Even if the odds are against you, don’t let them limit you. 

Sources: Thesis Commons, Alrei, Equileap

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