Effectiveness of Women-in-Manufacturing Program in Promoting Economic Empowerment for Women entrepreneurs in the Manufacturing Sector

Studies (World Bank Group, 2020) show that the manufacturing sector in Kenya has over the years been male dominated as in many other African countries. Vision 2030’s social pillar advocates for the closure of gender gaps. The closing of the manufacturing gender gap, for example, is highlighted in the Big 4 Agenda for shared prosperity that requires increasing the size of the country’s manufacturing sector and encourages participation of women therein. Recently, women have gained entrance into the manufacturing sector and are contributing to economic growth. Women however, face various hurdles, emanating from gender socialisation, cultural norms, and stereotypes that discourage female entrepreneurship in manufacturing. This means that due to lack of a level- playing field in the manufacturing industry, women do not participate optimally. Studies done by International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) and the Kenya Association of Manufacturing (Africa Development Bank, 2015; Mugyenyi et al, 2020) noted that most women-owned manufacturing businesses are micro, small and medium sized and are located mainly in the informal sector. To address this gender gap the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) initiated an intervention to empower women entrepreneurs in the sector. Among the interventions employed is the Women-in-Manufacturing (WIM) programme, a mentorship programme introduced in 2017. Since inception, its effectiveness as a women’s economic empowerment mechanism has not been evaluated. The objective of the study is to evaluate the impact of the WIM programme in promoting WEE and particularly in increasing participation of women in Kenyan the manufacturing.

The study will use both quantitative and qualitative research methods. The data to be used for the evaluation will be derived from four samples: WIM participants, non-WIM participants, men-owned businesses under KAM, and men-owned businesses not associated with KAM. The list of manufacturing businesses in Kenya’s industrial sector will be used as the sampling frame. The four samples will be analysed separately and as a pooled sample. Propensity Score Matching (PSM) will be used to estimate the impacts of the WIM programme on women’s industrial entrepreneurship; business skills; enterprise productivity; and access to business capital.

A probit model of selection into the WIM programme will be applied on the pooled sample, to construct propensity scores for each observation. Matching methods (for example, the nearest neighbour algorithm) will be employed to pair WIM programme participants with non-participants (based on similarities of the computed propensity scores), thus creating intervention and comparison groups that are statistically similar.

The study’s stakeholders will include the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM), who will facilitate the research on the primary respondents, dissemination of findings to the wider sector and the scaling up of the findings. The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) will provide research support during data collection while the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) will assist with collection of administrative data and advocacy. The Ministry of Industrialisation, Trade and Enterprise Development will be involved as a potential user of the evidence to be generated to design national industrialisation policies.

The primary outcome is an increase in the proportion of women owning and managing their own enterprises within the manufacturing sector by 30% by 2025.