As reports continue to show that gender parity is still an issue that will take time to actualize, some corporate firms resolve of empowering women.
Last week, as the world marked the International Women’s Day under the theme, “Press for Progress,” Safaricom was one of the companies that launched initiatives geared at enabling women to do more and grow in business. Safaricom renewed its commitment by pledging to work with more women-owned enterprises. Moreover, the firm is committed to raising the value of business sourced, from the current below 5 to 10 percent in the next three years.
Safaricom’s Director of Strategy, Mr. Joe Ogutu told the local Sunday Nation of the firm’s commitment, “We are committed to increasing participation of women and special interest groups in our procurement to 10 percent by 2020.”
This, the firm is already doing by deliberately awarding capital intensive contracts like fiber-laying, construction of base stations and other infrastructure expansion works to women-owned enterprises. One such enterprise that has benefited is Fireside communication headed by group CEO, Rebecca Wanjiku.
Ms, Rebecca gave a brief history of the firm with a current workforce 127, a significant rise from 10 during its inception. “We started small offering connectivity solutions to Safaricom’s small enterprise clients. So far, we have grown and are providing fiber services including design and layout to the home rollout,” she exclaims with a smile. “Beyond income, this has given us the opportunity to strengthen management and grow the business to a more competitive and winning status,” she continues.
Fireside is committed to onboarding more women in its engineering programme from the current 12 to 20 by the next month. Targeted in the program are qualified women in diploma and certificate engineering courses. The program as well is keen on those with high school certificates with a right attitude.
Safaricom through Fireside and other women-owned enterprises is making gender parity in procurement and proportion in the workforce a reality. Safaricom prides on a 51 percent women workforce. However, bottlenecks exist like underrepresentation of women in senior management levels which Mr. Ogutu recognizes and reaffirms Safaricom’s determination to resolving such gaps.
Women leadership, according to a new WomenRising2030 report, steers significant economic opportunities and better output and outcome performance.
Moreover, a report titled ‘Better Leadership, Better World: Women Leading for the Global Goals’ outlines six key leadership competencies in developing business opportunities in line with the UN Sustainable development goals. These competencies are transparency, long-term thinking, collaboration, innovation, environmental management and social inclusiveness. The report reveals that with gender equality at workplaces, US$12Trillion can be unlocked in the new market value linked to the global goals.