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Gender and Career Advancement in the Corporate Sector. A Case Study of the Cooperative Bank of Kenya

Abstract: The purpose of the study was to find out the influence of gender on career advancement in the corporate sector, a case study of the cooperative bank of Kenya. The objectives of this research is to examine the attitudes of management at the Cooperative Bank of Kenya on the effects of gender on career advancement, to examine the extent to which gender awareness affect career advancement in the banking sector in Kenya and to establish the extent to which gender affects career advancement in the banking sector in Kenya. To undertake the study, a descriptive research design was used. Descriptive research is a study designed to depict the participants in an accurate way. This is because this is a case study which is an in-depth study of an individual or group of individuals. The study utilized quantitative and qualitative data collection methods. A total of 100 questionnaires were administered but only 80 were returned while 20 were not returned. The research concludes that the most significant among the factors that are responsible for the lack of career progression of women in the banking sector are the personal challenges, followed by institutional barriers. Likewise, equal opportunity should be accorded to both genders to accept or decline an offer whether of local or global nature. The traditional assumptions that women are not better candidates for opportunities outside the country must be reviewed and not based on the family front or cultural constraints. The banks should create flexible networking opportunities that enable women too to interact without the hindrances and bottlenecks. If the banks understand their staffing needs and an audit is conducted to find out which gender does what better, policy and awareness should then follow to ensure that there is involvement of all staff members at all levels. Information should be accessed by all to ensure that equal opportunities are available to all genders. The study recommends that there are certain best practices that can be adopted to bring about equity in the banking sector including: ensuring that the excellent policies in place are implemented and adhered to and not skewed by individuals to suit their circumstances. This should be able to eliminate gender stereotyping and the invisible glass ceiling in all areas. Creating awareness in the mind-set of the managers to exercise equality of both genders and to avoid gender discrimination. Education and agility are very critical, and this should help create a balance in diversity and inclusion (D&I) where women should be encouraged to apply for the top competitive jobs. Key Words: career, career choice, career development, career perception, career advancement

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