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Kenya manufacturing lobby partner with UN to boost gender parity

By Christine Lagat NAIROBI (Xinhua)-- The Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) and the UN Women are working on a comprehensive strategy to boost participation of women in key industrial value chains, executives said on Tuesday

Flora Mutahi, KAM chair, said that greater participation of women in the manufacturing sector is key to boost its competitiveness in the light of challenges occasioned by automation and skills deficit.

“We have partnered with UN Women to ensure that gender mainstreaming is an integral part of 21st century industrial sector. Women could be a valuable asset to drive innovation and growth of industries,” said Mutahi.

She spoke in Nairobi during the third women in manufacturing forum organized by UN Women and the manufacturers lobby to sensitize female entrepreneurs on opportunities they could harness in the industrial sector.

Mutahi noted that Kenya has made gradual progress in closing a yawning gender gap in the manufacturing sector but urged action on policy, skills and funding hiccups that discouraged women from investing in industries.

“A robust and competitive manufacturing sector will be realized if we tap into women’s unique talents and skills. Women led industries can produce niche products for local and export market,” Mutahi said.

She noted that the manufacturing program supported by the UN and local investors has bridged gender gap in a sector that contributes an estimated 9.5 percent to Kenya’s gross domestic product (GDP).

“By equipping, educating and mentoring women, we will be able to provide the necessary skills and talents to take the industrial sector to the next level,” said Mutahi.

Banu Khan, a programs officer at UN Women Kenya Office, said companies that have advanced gender equality are more profitable and appealing to clients.

“The manufacturing sector should be gender-inclusive because it makes business sense and has profound impact on their sustainability,” said Khan, adding that UN Women has fostered dialogue with investors in Kenya’s industrial sector to promote gender parity at all managerial levels.



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