Only three women candidates have been shortlisted for interviews by the Public Service Commission (PSC) for top management jobs in four public universities.
This comes at a time when the National Gender and Equality Commission (NGEC) has raised a red flag on the dwindling number of women in managerial positions in public universities.
Speaking during the recent Gender Awareness Day to mark its 20th anniversary at Egerton University on November 3, the NGEC national chairperson Joyce Mwikali Mutinda raised concerns on the number of women in top management positions in public universities.
Dr Mwikali said many women in public universities were in acting capacities. She challenged Egerton University to conduct research that could help close the national gender gap.
However, she did not name the universities with many women who are acting in top positions.
National gender gap
“We need to look at the national gender gap including public universities. Kenya was ranked 95 globally out of 156 countries. The rankings are indicative of the yawning gender gap in our country, “she said.
Dr Mutinda said the Njoro-based campus has a great opportunity to help the country address the national gender gap since it has a vibrant Institute of Women, Gender and Development Studies.
“Egerton University should conduct research on gender issues and provide solutions on how gender equality can be attained in Kenya,” said Dr Mutinda.
Said Dr Mutinda: “Public universities need to develop gender friendly policies that are in tandem with our national gender and development policy that was launched in 2021 to achieve gender equality and empower more women to top positions. The public universities need to do more and bridge the gap. The commission is ready to help such universities.”
In the latest shortlisted candidates by PSC for top public university jobs, male candidates took the lion’s share, with 40 topping the shortlist to fill administrative positions at Koitalel Samoei University College in Nandi, Taita Taveta University, Egerton University in Nakuru and Turkana University College.
A total of 165 lecturers applied for six positions, with interviews planned for November 29 to December 2 in Nairobi.
The jobs are principal and deputy principal for academic, student and financial affairs (Koitalel Samoei), deputy vice-chancellor for administration, finance and planning (Taita Taveta), deputy vice-chancellor for academic affairs (Egerton), and principal and deputy principal (Turkana).
A total of 21 candidates applied for the position of Koitalel Samoei principal but only nine were shortlisted, including two female candidates.
Those who will face the PSC panellists on November 29-30 include Prof Jackson Kirop Too, Prof Hellen Lydiah Kutima, Prof Winston Jumba Akala, Prof Nathan Oyori Ogechi, Prof Peter Nyamuhanga Mwita, Prof Loice Chemgetich Maru, Prof Douglas Shitanda, Prof Nelson Were Wawire and Prof Joseph Kiplangat.
The position of Koitalel Samoei deputy principal attracted the highest number of applicants, with 46 applying for the job. However, only seven were shortlisted and all of them were male candidates. The seven women applicants were not shortlisted.
Those who will face the interviewing panel for the position of deputy principal include Prof Richard Otieno Juma, Prof Basweti Evans Abenga and Prof Micah Chemobo Chepchieng, now the acting DVC for academic affairs at Egerton.
Others are Prof Winston Jumba Akala, Prof Jackson Kiprop Too, who is taking a gamble as he has also been shortlisted for the position of principal at the same university, Prof Levi Mugalavai Musalia and Prof Johana Kibet Sigey.
The position of Taita Taveta University deputy vice-chancellor attracted 27 applicants and 10 of them were shortlisted including one woman.
Those shortlisted include Prof Christopher Ngacho, Prof James Biu Kung'u, Prof George Mungira Muthaa, Prof Josiah Ochieng Odalo, Prof Edward Kiptabut Tanui, Prof Ezekiel Kiptoo Kiprop, Prof Elijah Miinda Ateka, Prof Maurice Mughendi Mwamburi, Prof Kiptanui Jonah Arap Too, and Prof Genevieve Atamba Mwayuli.
A total of 25 applicants applied for the position of Egerton deputy vice-chancellor and only seven male candidates were shortlisted. At least five women applicants were not shortlisted.
Among the seven on the shortlist are three dons from Egerton - Prof Alexander Kigunzu Kahi, a former holder of the position, Prof Bockline Omedo Bebe, the current acting DVC in charge of Research and Extension, and Prof Japheth Ogalo Onyando, dean of the faculty of engineering at the Njoro campus.
Prof Kahi and Prof Bebe applied for the position of VC of Egerton in August but Prof Isaac Ongubo Kibwage beat six other candidates and was appointed the sixth VC of the premier agricultural university in Kenya.
Other shortlisted candidates are Prof Daniel Chebutuk Rotich, Prof Mathew Kinyanjui Ngugi, Prof Bernard Odhiambo Aduda and Prof Johnson Masai Changeiywo.
The position of Turkana University principal attracted 18 applicants and only five males were shortlisted. No woman candidates applied for the post.
Those on the shortlist were Prof George Chemining'wa Ndiema, Prof Peter Mwita, Prof Nathan Oyori Ogechi, Prof Henry Kirimi Kiriamiti and Prof Nelson Were Wawire.
The position of deputy principal at Turkana University attracted 28 applicants and only six were shortlisted, including one female candidate, Prof Helen Lydiah Kutima, while the male candidates are Prof Michael Lokuruka, Prof Christopher Ngacho, Prof George Mungira Muthaa, Prof Stanley Ngome Mutsotso and Prof Johana Kibet Sigey.