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I Purpose To Promote Gender Inclusivity In The Manufacturing Industry – Mary Ngechu

I purpose to promote gender inclusivity in the manufacturing industry – Mary Ngechu

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In a field that is predominantly run by men, Mary Ngechu the Managing Director of Plast Packaging Industries has cut a niche for herself and deliberately purposes to ensure that other women can grow economically – directly or indirectly.  The company achieves this through championing for both principle 3 and principle 4 of the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs).

Advancing women empowerment principles

The company has established a running graduate programme as part of training and industry work to harness the potential of future leaders in the industry. In addition to this, it conducts audited weekly safety and security training to ensure the health, safety and well-being of all women and men in the industry in promoting principle 3 and 4.

The company employs 183 staff including workers, technicians, technologist, engineers, sales and marketing, and administration and finance specialists; and outsource work to about 80 workers per month. With each employee supporting at least 3 to 5 dependents, this translates to over 200 households and over 1000 individuals directly benefitting from her enterprises.

I purpose to look at our pool of workers, both casual and permanent and ensure that it is inclusive, and women are equally represented within the workforce. I also purpose to buy from other women entrepreneurs.”

Ms Mary Ngechu

Ms Mary Ngechu (Second right), CEO of Plast Industries explains the manufacturing process to other women entrepreneurs during the WEPs Kenya chapter site visit to her industry (Photo by UN Women/Kennedy Okoth)

Through the WEPs Kenya, chapter, UN Women has managed to convene quarterly awareness and learning forums. These forums are held at specific companies and bring together existing signatories and potential ones to learn and share experiences on the value addition in implementing the principles within their companies. In hosting this forum, Ms Ngechu emphasized on the need for information sharing as key pillar to growth and knowledge.

“Information sharing is key in empowering women as I was introduced to WEPs through such a forum and we are purposing to introduce others.” Ms Ngechu.

Through her company, Ms Ngechu has laid out procedures of how to deal with industrial waste that contribute to climate change, and have a negative impact on the health of employees and Kenyan citizens at large. This is by making plastic, water and paper recycling a priority in both plants. Her work has managed to gain recognition in the country having been awarded the UN Kenya Person of the year (runners up) in 2017. Plast is one of the 22 companies in Kenya listed globally as signatories to the WEPs principles.

Business environment

The government of Kenya has placed its priorities in 4 pillars towards its economic growth as part of its Big four agenda over the next three years (until 2022). The Vision 2030, the Kenya Industrial Transformation Programme (KITP) and the Big 4 Agenda have all been designed by the Government to revamp the manufacturing sector. One of these focus areas is in manufacturing which the government has provided incentives to SMEs in this sector including a 3% Manufacturing Levy on imported products. The economic survey report by KNBS 2017 indicates that there are 1.56 million licensed MSMEs.

About the WEPs

Companies around the globe are promoting gender equality and women’s full participation and leadership in the workplace, marketplace and community. UN Women and UN Global Compact are encouraging firms of all sizes, in all countries, industries and sectors, to take decisive action towards gender equality with the Women’s Empowerment Principles.

By signing the Women’s Empowerment Principles, companies galvanize their shareholders and stakeholders to drive change for gender equality. They are becoming role models for attracting talent, entering new markets, serving their communities, while measurably improving the bottom line.

For more information on the WEPs Kenya chapter kindly contact Banu.khan@unwomen.org

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