What is the urban Kenyan woman up to?

Studies have proved that indeed are women better at multi-tasking

The Kenyan woman is up to something alright! Her tentacles can be felt everywhere and she is leaving footprints for others to follow. It is quite an exciting time to be a woman as this research by Milcah Asamba-Roimen of Millward Brown reveals.

At the moment, we are actually earning admiration from many quarters including our mothers who push us to do more adding that they did not have as much as we do in terms of education, freedom and their own money.

Take for instance the world of business where the 2017 KIM Leadership and Diversity Research report revealed that Kenyan women representation in listed companies’ boardroom now stands at 21 percent. This is impressive and it is up from 12 percent in 2012.

This means that they are seated at the high table, involved in making crucial decisions in business and not just tasked with implementing; getting the dishes from the table or just being contended with crumbs once everyone is done with the meal.

 

The political arena continues to be shaken by women and now we are seeing more women being elected to various positions. The 2017 general elections held on 8th August 2017 saw the county get its first female governors namely Ann Waiguru of Kirinyaga County, Charity Ngilu of Kitui and Joyce Laboso of Bomet. Additionally, Kenya got its first elected women senators and more elected members of parliament.

There are also quite a number of women who were nominated to the various political slots by their parties which is quite impressive as they had to fight it out with powerful men who also boast deep pockets. They also had to weather many storms where their names were tarnished; they encountered physical and emotional abuse and so on. Now we have a total of 100 women in the Kenyan parliament which is an improvement from the previous parliament which only had 84 MPs.

Female students at the University of Nairobi

 Higher Education

You must have seen young and middle-aged women in classes all over the country where they are seeking higher education at the degree, masters or doctorate levels. The numbers of women seeking higher education have increased steadily and according to the Economic Survey 2017, the 2016/2017 enrolment for women in universities stood at 192,472 women. This was a huge number and quite an improvement when compared with the 115746 of 2014/2015.

Driving force

There is the

  • So what is the driving force behind this woman who wants it all and is apparently getting it all? Here are some of the reasons she is doing it all according to this latest research,
  • Need to prove that she is capable
  • Urgency to live the good life
  • Various female empowerment programs
  • She is just a trailblazer
  • Parents belief in the equality of boy & girl thus planting a seed of greatness within her
  • Forced by circumstances – death/abandonment of a life partner
  • Societal expectations and pressures

Today’s woman is also FIERCE: empowered, relatively well-educated, knowledgeable, possibly well-traveled and exposed. She also boasts disposable income, is discerning, bold, demanding and determined. She does not let her challenges put her down but has learnt to use them as stepping stones to her goals.

Single parent home
Single parent home

How does this impact her?

  1. Singleness and single motherhood is not only a reality the woman but a choice for many as well. According to the Kenya Demographic and Health Survey (KDHS), nearly half (45 percent) of all children in Kenya do not live with both biological parents. Out of these numbers, the death of the father is responsible for just 5.3 % of single mother households in Kenya. The remaining number could be equally split between ‘deadbeat fathers’ and those that have been omitted. Single motherhood has also become an inspirational state for the younger woman.
  2. While retaining the traditional role of a nurturer, she is solidly establishing herself in other spheres such as family, career& hustle, a strong social network of friends and relatives and identity.
  3. Looking and feeling good is a no longer negotiable; it is a compulsory budget item. As at now, beauty and personal care is one of the fastest growing industries in Kenya having grown by 400 percent in 4 years from Sh 26 billion in 2011 to over Sh 100 billion in 2015, according to KPMG estimates.

Such numbers keep attracting foreign investment by renowned global brands like Yves Saint Laurent, Black Opal, Mac and Oriflame among others

  1. Health and physical fitness have become extremely important as well
    • Water bottles, gym bags, smoothie jars are now part of her daily accessories
    • Gyms, marathons, dance (Zumba) classes and jogging fields have gained importance in her life

 

  1. Confident and chic, she is creatively fronting a modern image dipped in an ‘African identity’ through her:
  • Accessories – African / Kenyan ornaments
  • Hair – Natural, short
  • Ankara clothing, handbags and shoes

And incorporating fun to create memorable moments for those in her sphere

No longer content with limited choice, she seems to be in a state of permanently searching

Companies to consider availing to her:

  • Information – products, services, opportunities
  • Ingredients – natural, pure, whole, nutritious, healthy

What else can brands do for her?

She continually works hard and for the betterment of many; it is time to celebrate her through

  • Recognition / acknowledgement / respect
  • Accompany her on her pursuits (Convenience, partnership, enhancer of her knowledge/skills)

Occasional rewards/accolades /

 

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