Women in Kenya still are not receiving equal pay for equal work, let alone equal pay for work of equal value. This disparity not only affects women’s spending power, it penalizes their retirement security by creating gaps in Social Security and pensions.
According to the World Economic Forum report 2015, a Kenyan woman is paid 62 shillings for every 100 shillings paid to a man for doing a similar job. According to the report, women in Kenya generally make less money than men for the same job. The report further states that what women are currently earning now, is what men were paid in 2006.
Issues such as the perceived number of hours that women work and the value that is placed on their labor, like nurturing and being supportive, are not regarded as having a high economic value. Women are often seen to be less loyal to the company and more likely to exit the workplace in their childbearing years. Employers may therefore perceive the long-term value that a woman would add to an organization as lower than that of a man who does not have care obligations outside the workplace. Men are therefore paid more than a woman to ensure that the company gets a greater return on the investment made in the development of an individual.
In accordance with the Constitution of Kenya, article 41 states that, every worker has a right to fair remuneration.
Article 27 of the Kenyan constitution further states that (1) Every person is equal before the law and has the right to equal protection and equal benefit of the law. (2) Equality includes the full and equal enjoyment of all rights and fundamental freedoms. (3) Women and men have the right to equal treatment, including the right to equal opportunities in political, economic, cultural and social spheres. (4) The State shall not discriminate directly or indirectly against any person on any ground, including race, sex, pregnancy, marital status, health status, ethnic or social origin, colour, age, disability, religion, conscience, belief, culture, dress, language or birth. (5) A person shall not discriminate directly or indirectly against another person on any of the grounds specified or contemplated in clause (4). (6) To give full effect to the realization of the rights guaranteed under this Article, the State shall take legislative and other measures, including affirmative action programmes and policies designed to redress any disadvantage suffered by individuals or groups because of past discrimination.
The employment act of 2007 , with specific reference to employment, states that person’s access to any institution, employment or facility, or the enjoyment of any right may not be denied because of person’s belief or religion. The Act further prohibits employer from discrimination against a current or a prospective worker on the basis of race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, nationality, ethnic or social origin, disability, pregnancy, mental status or HIV status. Discrimination in the process of recruitment, training, promotion, terms and conditions of employment, termination of employment and other matters related to employment is not allowed.
Women rights are human rights. Women have economic rights and deserve to be paid the same amount men are paid for doing the same job. We need to create a world where women’s contributions and ideals are as valued as those of men.
We have good laws and policies that protect women but when it comes to implementation, we are so poor at it. The government should show good political will and implement these laws and policies to the letter. The same government should also ensure that it monitors and enforces the same to the private sector to make a difference.