Kenya: CS Kariuki Urges Female Leaders to Steer Clear of Corruption

20 October 2020

Cabinet Secretary for Water, Sanitation and Irrigation Ms Sicily Kariuki has challenged women in leadership to steer clear of corruption.

Ms Kariuki who spoke on last week during a Women on Boards Network (WOBN) virtual graduation ceremony for women eyeing board and executive positions, urged women to guard their integrity.

"We as a country suffer from corrupt practices, which is serious deficit of integrity," she said.

"It is important to endeavour to guard your integrity... make a difference and stop normalising what is not normal," she added.

Mainstream gender

She said women in leadership should lead in mainstreaming gender in their various capacities of authority.

The CS exemplified her case in the Water ministry saying she has transformed it by bringing on board female engineers who were missing out in the managerial positions.

"When I was deployed to the water sector, all the officials that came to brief me were men," she said.

"I was concerned and when I asked, I was told there weren't lady engineers... I had to go out of my way to get the lady engineers," she said.

Ms Kariuki said women should purpose to pull up their fellow women who look up to them.

Sustainable development

While at the Ministry of Health, Ms Kariuki said she mentored the current Principal Secretary for Health Dr Mercy Mwangangi, noting that she is proud to have nurtured her into leadership.

"I consider it criminal not to pull up those below us. Let us be deliberate in pulling others up," she said.

She said for Kenya to enjoy sustainable development, it is important to implement gender-sensitive and responsive interventions.

"Interventions with long lasting and wide ranging impact are those that are owned by both men and women," she said.

Meanwhile, WOBN chairperson Ms Catherine Musakali encouraged women to practice their leadership skills with integrity.

Gender balance

"As you sit on the boards, many times certain information is not always available to you but we expect you to make decisions in the best interest of the organisation," she said.

A 2020 report on gender equality at the workplace shows by the Nairobi Securities Exchange, Equileap and New Faces New Voices, indicated that women account for 23 per cent of board members, up from 21 per cent in 2017.

And no firm of the 60 companies studied had achieved gender balance at the board, executive, senior management and general workforce levels.

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