Domestic violence. In Kenya, more than half a million (505,000) working women have taken time off work because of domestic abuse in the past year. www.businesstoday.co.ke
Domestic violence. In Kenya, more than half a million (505,000) working women have taken time off work because of domestic abuse in the past year. [Photo/ The Conversation]

In Kenya, it is estimated that nearly two million (1.97m) working women have experienced domestic violence and abuse over the past 12 months.

In a report published ahead of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, this abuse has a damaging impact on careers and businesses globally.

The report by KPMG which was commissioned by Vodafone shows that more than one third (38%) of victims surveyed said they suffered from reduced productivity, and 22% said they sometimes stopped going to work and/or would take days off.

Taking time off

In Kenya, the study estimates that more than half a million (505,000) working women have taken time off work because of domestic abuse in the past year.

$50 million in economic output is lost by Kenyan businesses each year as a result of work absences related to domestic abuse.

Locally, Safaricom has partnered with Healthcare Association Kenya a Non-Governmental Organisation that operates a Sexual and Gender-Based Violence rapid response call centre.

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“As part of our partnership with Healthcare Association Kenya, we have zero-rated their toll-free line (1195) enabling quick access to services such as nearest hospitals and police stations as well as psychological support to victims. In the past, the Safaricom Foundation has also partnered with the Gender Violence Recovery Centre through the provision of grants to enable medical treatment and psychosocial support to survivors of Gender-based violence,” said Michael Joseph, CEO, Safaricom PLC.

As a result of work absences related to abuse, in the nine countries covered by Vodafone’s survey, an estimated $2.1 billion in economic output is lost each year.

Four million women also missed out on promotion as a result of domestic violence and abuse – suffering a related annual average salary loss of $2,900 per woman.

This equates to approximately $13 billion in total potential earnings lost each year across those nine countries.

Eighty million working women across 107 countries – a figure equating to approximately 15% of the female workforce – have experienced domestic violence and abuse in the past 12 months.

Kenya outranks Rwanda in women workplace equality

Despite this, Kenya has made massive strides towards achieving workplace gender equality and removing formal legal obstacles that make it difficult for women to contribute to the economy in the past four years, a new report by the World Bank and adopted by the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), an American think tank has revealed.

World Bank’s report dubbed Women Business and The Law 2018 shows that Kenya ranked at position 71 out of 189 countries globally, position 7 out of 49 countries in Sub Saharan Africa and at position 10 out of 53 lower-middle-income economies.

Rwanda ranks at position 80 globally and at position 9 out of the listed 47 Sub Saharan Africa countries.

Kenya garners an average score of 72.8% for making concerted efforts towards protecting women from violence through enacting legislation, enabling access to institutions for women, ensuring that the business environment was conducive for women to get jobs as well as providing incentives to work.

Read >> Street families: Kenya’s ticking time bomb

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