Top 10 Kenyan companies whose high performance links to gender equality

Top 10 Kenyan companies whose high performance links to gender equality

Ten top Kenyan companies have been ranked among global firms that achieved higher returns due to their focus on gender equality, according to a study from Equileap.

The survey on 61 companies listed on the Nairobi Stock Exchange put the country’s average score at 26%, comparable to Canadian companies at 27%.

“The best performing company in Kenya is Standard Chartered Bank Kenya, with a gender equality score of 63% while the top performing company globally this year is Diageo with a score of 74%,” Equileap CEO Diana van Maasdijk said on  Wednesday.

Equileap is a Danish research firm that partnered with the NSE and New Faces New Voices, a women’s network established by the Graça Machel Trust, to conduct the study.

Speaking during a Press briefing in Nairobi, NSE Chief Executive Geoffrey Odundo averred that addressing gender equality will unlock trillions of dollars of currently unrealised economic value across the globe.

Gender Equality in the workplace will play a fundamental role in attracting impact investors in Kenya,” he said.

Nine other public Kenyan companies that ranked high on the Equileap gender equality scorecard are:

  • WPP Scangroup
  • Safaricom
  • Barclays Bank of Kenya
  • Kenya Airways
  • Kenya Reinsurance
  • KenGen
  • Stanbic Bank 
  • Kenya Commercial Bank Group
  • East African Breweries Limited

CAS Rachel Shebesh (Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs) said the ministry is seeking to amplify the voice of women in the public sector.

She spoke on behalf of CS Margaret Kobia who was at the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD).

Over 6,000 world leaders have converged in Nairobi for ICPD25 which calls for action to end maternal deaths, stop gender-based violence and meet demand for family planning.

CAS Shebesh noted that the Equileap report, coincidentally released as the Nairobi summit gets underway, shows that the the dynamics in government is starting to change.

I will carry around this Gender Equality report as if it’s a Kenyan government report. This data is clear and pushes us forward…our job is to keep making noise and make this a priority,” she said.

According to the Equileap report, Standard Chartered Bank-Kenya ranked high among top 50 companies globally which were assessed based on their overall performance in four categories.

The categories include gender balance at all levels of the company; equal compensation and work-life balance; policies promoting gender equality; as well as commitment to women’s empowerment, transparency, and accountability.

Globally, 3000 companies were surveyed but on the premise that the information they provided is available in the public domain through annual reports, CSR reports and websites.

In Kenya, through the NSE, public companies were informed of the research and invited to submit their most recent published information.


East African Breweries was ranked as the best company that provides for primary-carer leave: 6 months for maternity leave and 1 month for paternity leave.

Four other companies that ranked high in this category were Standard Chartered Kenya (20 weeks), British American Tobacco Kenya (16), Limuru Tea (16), and Safaricom (16).

Under Category C that assessed how companies make the workplace safe, sexual harassment was one of the key criterion.

21 companies (35%) were found to publish an anti-sexual harassment policy with global averages pegged at 37% last year and 42% the previous year.

However, Equileap revealed that there is limited transparency from Kenyan companies when it comes to sharing information on the gender pay.

37 companies (62%,) did not provide information on the gender composition of their workforce.

“No company published a strategy to address any pay gaps, compared to 12% of companies in our global dataset,” the report said.


The study however found that companies were quick to provide numbers of women on their Boards: 23% of them in the green.

“The proportion of women on the board in Kenya continues to improve – it has slightly increased since 2017 (based on the Board Diversity Report conducted by the Kenyan Institute of Management) and has (almost) doubled since 2012,” the report reads.

In terms of flexibility to vary working hours and places of work, only four of the top performing companies ranked high: Standard Chartered, WPP Scangroup, Safaricom and Barclays Bank of Kenya.

The top-ranking sector in the country was noted as Communications with Safaricom cited as having the strongest performance.

Barclays Bank of Kenya, Stanbic Holdings, and WPP Scangroup are the only three companies that reportedly achieved gender balance at three levels.

However, no public company has gender balance for both its Board and executive team.

In Kenya, seven companies (12%) have a female Chief Executive Officer: BOC Kenya, British American Tobacco Kenya, DTB Kenya, Eveready East Africa, KenGen, Limuru Tea, and STANLIB Fahari I-REIT.

The study further indicates that only 12 companies (20%) have a supplier diversity policy that includes women-owned businesses; 35 companies (58%) publish evidence assuring applicants of non-discriminatory hiring practices and 26 companies (43%) have a human rights policy in place.

Further, 42 Kenyan companies (70%) were found to have an employee protection policy or whistleblower mechanism in place while 37 companies (62%) reportedly ensure equal access to training and career development opportunities for men and women at all levels of the company.