HeForShe Club hosts webinar to discuss gender equity in the workplace

By Zia Stocker

The HeForShe Club, supported by the Gender Equity and Protection Office, hosted a webinar on “Breaking the Glass Ceiling: The Advancement of Women in Professional Work” on the September 27, 2023 as part of a series of activities organized this week to promote gender equality on campus. The session was moderated by Imani Naitore and Zia Stocker, the HeForShe Chair and Vice Chair. The event attracted a diverse group of stakeholders, including students, members of faculty, and members of the Gender Equity and Protection Office at USIU-Africa.

The panelists for this session were Dr. Susan Mwangi, a security and governance expert; Professor Pauline Otieno, a Professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies; and Ms. Mercy Mukami, the brand champion for youth products at Postbank Kenya. They engaged in a high-level, meaningful discussion on breaking down the oppressive systems that perpetuate gender inequality in the workplace. Ms. Mercy Mukami provided an in-depth exhibition of the importance of financial education and literacy in the empowerment of young women, and highlighted the ways in which major financial institutions can make their services more accessible and inclusive for this vulnerable demographic. Drawing from her area of expertise, Professor Pauline Otieno was able to comprehensively explain the role religion plays in the power dynamics between different genders that we see in the workplace, while Dr. Susan Mwangi focused on how our past and present governance has shaped ability of women to advance in professional work in Kenya. A key idea shared among all the panelists was that gender equality has not yet been achieved in the professional landscape, and although significant improvements have been made, there is still some way to go before one can confidently agree with the statement “gender equality has been achieved in the workplace”.

Following the key points highlighted during the discussion, the HeForShe Club is eager to continue actively engaging and educating the USIU-Africa student population on the lack of balance that exists between genders in certain professional industries, specifically within leadership spheres. Understanding the attitudes and sentiments towards this gap among fellow students, and bringing their voices and concerns to light, is a key area that the club hopes to focus on in future projects.

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