NAIROBI, March 13 (Xinhua) -- The World Bank's private sector arm, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) on Friday pledged to support African countries to achieve gender parity in the corporate sector.
Rose Lumumba, corporate governance specialist, IFC told a business forum in Nairobi that women continue to be underrepresented at the senior levels in the private sector despite their potential to contribute positively to the performance of these entities.
"We are providing recommendations to African nations on the legal and regulatory reforms required to enable corporates to achieve a balance in the workforce especially at the top leadership positions," Lumumba said during the 2020 Ring the Bell for Gender Equality conference.
Lumumba said that studies have indicated that companies with gender parity perform better in terms of turnover as compared with their peers that lack gender diversity.
"Firms that have more women represented in the senior management roles also tend to attract more equity and debt investors and are better accepted by their communities and other stakeholders," said Lumumba.
She said that African societies have been historically biased against women especially in the workplace.
Lumumba said that women have also been reluctant to offer themselves for top leadership positions.
Anna Mutavati, country director for Kenya, United Nations Women said that empowering women economically helps to promote gender equality, poverty eradication and inclusive economic growth.
She said that realizing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in the next few years is a tall order and requires the concerted efforts of all stakeholders.
"This includes the private sector which is a key driver of economic growth through innovation, capital formation, and productivity," said Mutavati.
She said that research demonstrates that gender diversity helps businesses perform better and this signals that self-interest and common interest can come together and that gender equality is good for business.