Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) and the International Research Center for Women (ICRW) kicked off the first Women in Manufacturing study in the country.
KAM launched the Women In Manufacturing (WIM) Programme in 2017 to enhance market access for women industrialists in Kenya, provide an enabling environment for them and improve their competitiveness locally, regionally and globally. WIM provides a platform for women entrepreneurs to gain skills and knowledge to access bigger markets, expand their business and venture into diverse sub-sectors of manufacturing.
The KAM WIM study, a first of its kind, will seek to inform the advocacy strategy to mainstream equality and inclusion in the manufacturing sector.
Speaking during the launch, KAM WIM Programme Chair, Ms Flora Mutahi noted that despite skills and talent being the top drivers of the sector’s growth, women are under-represented.
“Globally, women contribute 55% of the labour force but only 22% in Manufacturing due to various barriers. The world of manufacturing is beginning to realize the value of women’s participation for its advancement, as it transforms through technology and rapid digitization. Globally, the more the sector changes, the more palpable the need for women’s involvement towards reaching new heights of innovation and creativity,” said Ms Mutahi.
She also added that women are the solution to the huge industrial skills and economic growth gap problem and that there is great potential for women-run industries to create productive jobs and grow value chains in the country.
“This calls for a re-evaluation of our view of work and labour, in a way that will progressively increase the sector’s productivity and significantly reduce the skills gap. A sure way to do so, and certainly, for Kenya to achieve its Vision 2030 through industrialization is to ensure continued inclusion, participation and more importantly, valuing of Women in industry,” she remarked.
ICRW – Africa Director, Dr Cleopatra Mugyenyi, added that the in-depth research will bring viable solutions to the challenges facing Women in Manufacturing and expressed optimism that it shall inspire more women to venture into uncharted territory.
“The outcomes of this research will pivot the advocacy drive of the KAM WIM program in Kenya. By providing concrete data on the necessary areas to improve. This research will also provide the essential foundation to champion for an enabling environment to encourage better participation of women in industry,” concluded Dr Mugyenyi.
The study shall feature various stakeholders from government, private sector, civil society and development partners.