Old Mutual Kenya has announced new measures aimed at creating a more conducive working environment, promoting gender equality, and boosting productivity for its female staff.
As part of the new measures, the company has increased maternity leave from three months to four months, extended breaks for women who experience child loss during pregnancy (miscarriage), and revised paternity leave from two weeks to one month to support partners.
Additionally, the company has introduced tele-counseling for all staff to address mental health concerns.
The announcement was made yesterday at the Old Mutual Women Network (OWN) breakfast event, which brought together women from across the organization to share and connect.
OWN was created in 2016 to provide women with a forum to share, connect, and develop themselves, and operates in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, and South Sudan. Its activities are centered around six pillars: community outreach, networking, coaching and mentoring, diversity and inclusivity, care and sharing, and empowerment in business acumen.
Speaking at the event, Old Mutual Group Human Capital Executive, East Africa, Nkirote Njiru, said that the company’s commitment to adaptability in responding to the needs of its staff, both men and women, has led to the new measures.
“We recognize that the journey to motherhood is different for every woman, and they need support in each season. Our new measures are designed to create a supportive environment for all our staff and promote gender equality,” said Ms. Njiru.
In her keynote speech, the Chief Guest, Catherine Muraga – MD, Microsoft Africa Development Centre, emphasized the role of technology in promoting gender equality. “Technology can be an equalizer that provides platforms for women to learn, get progressive jobs, connect, and bring in the female view that is sometimes forgotten when building products or services,” she said.
Old Mutual also announced plans to develop a diversity, equity, inclusivity, and belonging policy to promote equity and equality across the board. The policy, which is currently going through a consultation phase to define its framework, will consider factors such as age, religion, skills, and differently-abled persons to promote gender equality beyond the hiring stage.
OWN East Africa Patron, Anne Nyamu, said, “This month, we have an exciting opportunity to explore how the tech world has impacted gender dynamics. As aligned with this year’s IWD theme, we shall host a tech extravaganza series, which will see women in tech share their experiences and the opportunities in this space that we can leverage to better our productivity.”
This is even as the world marked International Women’s Day 2023 with the theme of leveraging innovation and technology to promote gender equality.