How domestic violence costs Kenya's economy $50 million in losses every year as more than half a million women call in sick

Nairobi City skyline.
  • 80, 000,000 working women across 107 countries – a figure equating to approximately 15% of the female workforce – have experienced domestic violence and abuse in the past 12 months, according to an independent international study from KPMG.
  • An estimated nearly two million (1.97m) Kenyan working women have experienced domestic violence and abuse over the same period.
  • The study estimates that more than half a million (505,000) working women have taken time off work because of domestic abuse in the past year in Kenya.

Kenyan businesses loss Sh5 billion ($50 million) annually in lost economic output as a result of work absenteeism.

The work absenteeism is a result of domestic violence directed to millions of working Kenyan women who have to call in sick or worse not show up at all after succumbing to the life threatening injuries.

An estimated nearly two million (1.97m) Kenyan working women have experienced domestic violence and abuse in the past 12 months alone, according to a new independent international study from KPMG commissioned by Vodafone.

More than one third – 38% – of victims surveyed said they suffered from reduced productivity, and 22% said they sometimes stopped going to work and/or would take days off.

The study estimates that more than half a million (505,000) working women have taken time off work because of domestic abuse in the past year in Kenya.

As a result of the reduced productivity and absenteeism the country losses Sh5 billion ($50 million) annually.

Kenya is, however, not alone in experiencing the vice. 80, 000,000 working women across 107 countries – a figure equating to approximately 15% of the female workforce – have experienced domestic violence and abuse in the past 12 months.

Coming a day before the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, the report is a sobering read.

16 days of activism

Meanwhile, the 16 days of activism against gender-based violence,an annual international campaign kicked off on 25 November.

This year’s theme “Orange the World: Generation Equality Stands agaisnt Rape!” will be observed from 25 November to 10 December.

In recent years, the voices of survivors and activists, through campaigns such as #MeToo, #TimesUp, #Niunamenos, #NotOneMore, #BalanceTonPorc, and more recently #CampusMeToo, have put the spotlight on the issue of sexual violence and have reached a crescendo that cannot be silenced or ignored anymore.

One in every two female students and one in every four male students has experienced a form of sexual harassment from a member of staff in Kenyan Universities, according to a survey done by ActionAid in partnership with UN Women.

The UNiTE Campaign is calling on people from all walks of life to learn more and take a stand against the pervasive rape culture that surrounds us.

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