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Why female CEOs get divorced more often : The Standard




Getting a top job dramatically increases women’s chances of divorce, even in egalitarian countries. Why isn’t it the same for men?

Having a successful and enjoyable career alongside a fulfilling romantic relationship is a life goal for many of us. But even in the most gender-equal countries, finding a partnership that lasts is trickier for high-flying women than men.

In Sweden, which ranks first in the EU’s gender equality index thanks to factors like generous parental leave, subsidised daycare and flexible working arrangements, economists recently studied how promotions to top jobs affected the probability of divorce for each gender. The result: women were much more likely to pay a higher personal price for their career success.

SEE ALSO :30,000 graduates join the hunt for jobs

“Promotion to a top job in politics increases the divorce rate of women but not for men, and women who become CEOs divorce faster than men who become CEOs,” summarises Johanna Rickne, a professor at Stockholm University and co-author of the research, which was published earlier this month in American Economic Journal.

The paper, which looked at the lives of heterosexual men and women working for private companies with 100 or more employees, found that married women were twice as likely to be divorced three years after their promotion to CEO level compared to their male counterparts.

In the public sector, using three decades’ worth of records, women mayors and parliamentarians promoted after an election doubled their chances of splitting from their partners; 75 percent were still married eight years after the vote compared with 85 per cent of those who didn’t get promoted, while there was no evidence of a similar effect for men.

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Female medical doctors, police officers and priests who progressed in their careers also followed the trend.

The authors noted that while the majority of participants in the study had children, most had left home by the time their parents divorced, so the marriage stressors in the run-up to these separations were not connected to more generalised pressures of having small children.

SEE ALSO :Business leaders trail in list of role models

Rickne argues that although Sweden has provided the legislation and societal structures to create “the expectation that you shouldn’t need to choose between family and career”, the research reveals that what happens to families when women progress up the career ladder is often a different story.

Many couples experience “stress and friction” when there are changes in the division of their economic and social roles, for example due to the impact on the amount of leisure time they can spend together or how they divide up household tasks. But this, the research team argues, is often amplified when it is the woman who is promoted, because it creates more of a mismatch of expectations.

While Rickne’s research did not measure which party initiated divorce in each case, one theory is that the husbands of top managers who got promoted found the situation harder to deal with than wives who were married to high-performing men.

She points out that the marriage market has not kept up with the labour market when it comes to gender equality, since it is “still seen as quite unusual for men to be the main supportive spouse in someone else’s career”.

 “I think this norm changing is pretty far off,” she adds. Her team’s research, she argues, might therefore act as a lesson about what lies ahead for other countries that are moving towards more egalitarian economies.

SEE ALSO :Local firms also need to be given tenders

A common concern

For Charlotte Ljung, 39, a CEO within a luxury bed and furniture group in Sweden who also runs an online advice platform for people getting divorced, Rickne’s research reflects common concerns within her own network of high-achieving women.

“The joke is ‘the better you do at work, the more likely you are going to get a divorce’,” she laughs.

She got divorced while her two children were still small and says that for her, juggling parenthood and a senior role was a key source of friction within her marriage.

But Ljung believes that “the practical aspects” of being a CEO, such as frequent travel, long hours and the pressures having a high public profile can often cause struggle for the partners of senior female managers even if the couple doesn’t have kids.

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“It is also the power perception – who wears the pants, who brings in more money,” she argues. “Men today often find it intriguing in the beginning and want to be seen to support you and root for you – and I think that is a very positive thing – but I think a few steps down the line, when reality kicks in, it can be more difficult for men to deal with.”

Choosing the right partner

So how might women aiming for top jobs mitigate their chances of entering into a relationship that destabilises when they reach the top of their career ladder?

Rickne points out that, even in egalitarian countries like Sweden, women still tend to marry older men who start out having more money than them, harking back to traditional “prince in the fairytale” narratives that “try and teach us to find as successful a husband as possible”.

“High-income high-status women – they don’t marry a low-income man who wants to be a house husband. They tend to seek an even more high-income husband. But thinking forward to your possibilities in the labour market, this might not be ideal,” she argues. “Maybe try and get into a more egalitarian relationship from the start.”

Her research found that divorces after promotions were most likely in couples where the wife was younger than her husband by a larger margin and took a bigger share of parental leave.

Couples who were closer in age and took a more egalitarian approach to childcare were less likely to divorce following a wife’s promotion. The paper calls for more research to explore the conditions that might encourage “women at the top of the ability distribution to expand their choice set of partners to ‘marry down’ and for men to do the opposite”.

Positive examples

Charlotte Sundåker, 38, was promoted to interim CEO of a global education company in Stockholm two years after having her first child with her long-term partner Christian Hagman, who is 31. She believes his younger age played a positive role in their relationship surviving “lots of friction” after she got the job; there was “less pressure for him to be more successful” since he was in a different phase of his career.

Sundåker describes him as being “of another generation that tries to challenge the old ways of being a man”, which made him more supportive of her tough workload. But both partners argue that the core reason they remained together was frequent and honest conversations about the challenges they were facing.


“When she actually started, she was obviously consumed by it. That is the nature of being a CEO,” says Hagman. “I was a bit sad about not connecting with her on a daily basis from a relationship standpoint… But she saw me and she listened to me, and I did the same.”

The couple says that having a long-term perspective was also essential, with an understanding that Hagman would want to have his own more career-focused period in the future.

He has since started his own design consultancy, while Sundåker now runs her own business and heads up Ownershift, a Swedish think tank designed to empower more women to do the same.

Divorced CEO Charlotte Ljung believes that increased awareness of the common challenges faced by couples after women are promoted into more senior jobs could also improve the chances of relationship survival, even for those who start off in more gender-traditional roles.

“One has to be careful about putting on a feminist hat and pointing fingers, because nothing has really prepared men for this change, practically,” she says. “We need to provide better tools and raise awareness of the subject by talking about it. In the same way we have destigmatised therapy, is there is a similar thing we can do to help men?”

The benefits of divorce

Meanwhile, divorce isn’t always a bad thing. Molly Malm, a lawyer, points out the high level of female participation in the workforce and a norm of shared custody of children following a split makes it easier for divorcees of all economic backgrounds to leave partnerships that aren’t working.

“Getting a divorce doesn’t always need to be the end of the world,” says Malm, who points out that is has become normalised in Scandinavia to get married multiple times or have several long-term partners across a lifetime.

Rickne’s data suggests that women who divorce after scoring top promotions are less likely than men to remarry or have a serious relationship. But from her work it’s not possible to conclude whether they are happier without a partner or if they found it harder to find someone new compared to their male counterparts.

However, one constructive consequence of high divorce rates, she argues, is that it has become much easier for both men and women to hold senior roles in business and politics without a partner.

“Society has accepted divorce more, and it might be a positive thing,” she argues. “If women get into unequal relationships with a spouse that will not support their career, divorce lets them continue their careers alone and possibly look for a new partner… It’s not necessarily ideal to stay with the same person your whole life.”

1. A mother can keep baby but shouldn’t deny father access…

In separation or divorce disputes, there is a glaring rule that mothers retain custody of children of tender years. It does not end there as the parent having actual custody of the baby must allow access to the other parent!

Courts take into consideration that to deprive a parent access to his/her child is to deny the baby an important contribution to his/her emotional and material growing up.

2. Child custody doesn’t have to be decided in court…

The divorces recorded in the courts only account for spouses who divorce formally through the legal system.

It is also a reality that several other matrimonial disputes are not resolved in court as spouses prefer Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and resolve differences by mediation. They agree on who has custody of the children, upkeep, visitation rights and sharing of matrimonial property.

3. If it is good for the child, it is good for the courts…

Family lawyers concur that during disputes involving parents, the best interest of the child must remain paramount.

“When adults make decisions, they should think about how their decisions will affect children, “Lawyer Judy Thongori says and explains that in physical custody cases, the courts perform a delicate balance to ensure that even if children live with the mother, the father is not alienated.

“We have cases where school terms are split between the parents and the holidays equally shared,” she says.

She explains that there are also cases in which courts direct that parents take alternate weekends to be with the babies – their presence is encouraged.

4. What is joint or sole custody?

Lawyer Leah Kiguatha says that courts can either issue orders on joint or sole legal custody of children.

“Joint legal custody means both parents share the right and responsibility to make decisions relating to the health, education and welfare of the child. Sole Custody means one parent can have either sole legal custody or sole physical custody of a child,” Kiguatha says.

Kiguatha also explains that Section Six of the Children’s Act provides that a child has a right to live with and be cared for by his parents.

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Rethink disastrous sports betting taxation policy : The Standard




Kenya has been busy on the international trade circuit, signing deals with the UK and announcing that negotiations for a trade agreement with the US are now on. This is good news because if done correctly, opening of these vast developed markets could power Kenyan exports.
There is, however, a frequent complaint made by international investors regarding the business climate in the country: taxation.
Speaking during a breakfast meeting hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce in Kenya, Coca-Cola’s Phillipine Mtikitiki blamed high and unpredictable taxes as one of the barriers to doing business in Kenya.

SEE ALSO :Best countries to do business

For instance, it makes business planning and forecasting difficult when new and unexpected levies are introduced to businesses and have to be absorbed or passed on to consumers.
Indeed, Mark Measick the USAid mission director in East Africa noted that Kenya will not be “trade negotiation” ready until the issue of a stable and predictable tax regime is dealt with.
This is because international investment is made by private sector based on the attractiveness of the investment destination of which the prevailing tax regime is a big part.

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Which is why it bears looking at what is happening in the sports betting industry. Essentially, this is an industry that has almost been taxed out of existence in the national jurisdiction. 

SEE ALSO :Treasury’s growing appetite brings pain to taxpayers

Not only has there been a rush to introduce taxes to the industry, but there has also been deliberate misapplication of the taxation regime in ways that utterly make no sense. For instance, when someone places a bet of Sh100 and wins Sh50 on the outcome of a football game, the tax they should pay should be on the winnings not the original wager amount.
A quick look at how the tax regime has changed over the last seven years bears this unpredictability out. In 2013, winnings payable to bettors were subject to a withholding tax of 20 per cent. This was later reduced to 7.5 per cent in January 2016.
In September 2016, this withholding tax was suspended, instead a betting tax of 12.5 per cent on gross gaming revenues was introduced. By January 2018, this betting tax was escalated to 35 per cent before being reduced to 15 per cent in 2019.  However, withholding tax on winnings was now reintroduced at 20 per cent.
As at November last year, an excise duty of 20 per cent on the amount bet was introduced.
Further, the definition of winnings was expanded to widen the scope in 2018. Currently, Kenya Revenue Authority has chosen to interpret its mandate to extend to taxing the entire amount wagered plus winnings.

SEE ALSO :Changes that marked the decade

This makes a mockery of the whole taxation regime and calls into question whether the tax authority, an agent meant to collect taxes for the government for a commission, has overstepped its mandate in granting itself interpretive powers that it does not possess.
While KRA has powers of collection of taxes and enforcement of taxation rules, it is doubtful that its mandate extends to the independent determination of how such taxes should apply.
As Professor Migai Akech notes in his book, Administrative Law, “the taxation power needs to be exercised judiciously lest it threatens the very same individual liberties that government is established to protect.”
Therefore, he notes, taxation ought to be applied according to the principles of equity, fair treatment of taxpayers and involvement of taxpayers in public participation when making changes to the tax policy.
Arbitrary process


SEE ALSO :Sudan passes 2020 budget with anticipated deficit of USD1.62 billion

In the introduction of multi-layered taxes on the sports betting industry, a lot of things have gone awfully wrong from the start. One of them is that the process has been arbitrary and ill-informed, resulting in chaotic implementation.
The industry was clearly not consulted and the imposition of the added taxes in retrospect was motivated more by a need to plug gaping holes in a budget whose figures are now known to have been cooked to hide certain public debts.
Rather than result in the expected windfall for the tax authorities, the amount of taxes collected from the sports betting industry has actually shrunk as betting companies fold up operations and send workers home.
In 2018 for instance, when the excise duty on betting winnings was 15 per cent, the government was able to raise more than Sh12 billion which was meant to go into a Sports Fund to develop sporting activities.
This money was later diverted to the universal health coverage fund to the detriment of sports, and the all too familiar tales of Kenyan sports teams stranded in foreign capitals for lack of funds have become the norm.
Sports has also benefited from direct sponsorships to the leagues and individual sports team from the industry, something no longer tenable and whose effects are there to see.
– The writer is a policy and legal communications consultant

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KQ counts $8m in lost revenue after flying out of China route




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Kenya Airways (KQ) has lost $8 million in revenue in about one month since it suspended flights to China as a precaution against the deadly coronavirus outbreak.

The losses on the Nairobi-Guangzhou route include foregone passenger and cargo revenue.

Acting chief executive Allan Kilavuka told The EastAfrican that China is a key cargo origin as well as a main feeder to the regional freighters, and the suspension of flights since the end of January has dealt a big blow to the airline’s revenues.

“We are looking at lost revenue of about $8 million, both passenger and cargo. However, various initiatives are in place to increase passenger and cargo revenues on other routes to minimise this impact,” said Mr Kilavuka.

The coronavirus has so far infected more than 75,000 people globally and killed over 2,200.

“I am optimistic that the situation in China will be under control soon and we will resume our service that continues to create convenience and a good flying experience for all our guests,” he added.


He said that KQ switched the aircraft that operated the route to China, to Dubai, from February 11, and changed the timing of the Bangkok flight from a midnight departure to early morning as a way of maintaining operational efficiency and minimising disruption to passengers.

“Due to our additional precautionary measures we have faced some delays in operations. We are working closely with the port health teams from the Ministry of Health as guided by the World Health Organisation who continue to monitor and advice on the next steps to take with regards to the coronavirus,” he said.

KQ’s stock on the NSE has fallen by 1.29 per cent over the past month to trade as low as Ksh2.29 ($0.022) per share on Thursday last week.

In the past seven years, the share price has dropped by over 75 per cent from a high of Ksh9.40 ($0.094) in 2013.

KQ, which is set to be delisted from the Nairobi Securities Exchange after parliament approved its takeover by the State, widened its losses for the year 2018 to Ksh7.5 billion ($75 million) from Ksh6.4 billion ($64 million) in 2017.

Its net loss for the six months’ period to June 30, 2019 more than doubled to Ksh8.5 billion ($85 million) from Ksh4 billion ($40 million) in the same period the previous year (2018).

Globally, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) forecast the aviation industry will lose $29 billion worth of passenger revenues this year, of which $40 million will be from African airlines.

According to IATA, carriers outside the Asia-Pacific are forecast to lose $1.5 billion, assuming the loss of demand is limited to markets linked to China.


Global traffic is forecast to drop, causing the first overall decline in demand since the Global Financial crisis of 2008-2009.

“This will be a very tough year for airlines,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s director general and chief executive.

“It is clear the airlines are struggling. Our initial analysis suggests that we are facing a 4.7 per cent hit on global demand. That could more than eliminate the 4.1 per cent growth we forecast for 2020 in December.”

Kenya Airways flies to Guangzhou, China’s third-largest city, three times a week.

Before the suspension of the flights, a passenger from China was quarantined after being suspected to have contracted the deadly flu-causing virus.

Regional airlines such as RwandAir and Air Tanzania have also suspended flights to China over the viral outbreak.

Globally, Virgin Atlantic, Germany’s Lufthansa, Air France and KLM SA have also stopped flying to China.

Kenya’s lawmakers have approved the nationalisation of KQ to save the airline that has been run down by mismanagement and mounting debts.

The government has adopted a plan to buy out KQ’s minority shareholders and convert shares held by commercial banks into debt.

Under the plan, the government will also create a special purpose vehicle — Aviation Holding Company (AHC) — to manage Kenya’s aviation sector.

The AHC will have four subsidiaries — Kenya Airways, Kenya Airports Authority, Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and a centralised Aviation Services College, which will be run independently.

KQ is 48.9 per cent owned by the government, and a group of 11 local banks which own 38.1 per cent of the shares.

Other shareholders include KLM Royal Dutch Airline (7.8 per cent), employees (2.4 per cent) and other shareholders at 2.8 per cent.

However, the airline is facing difficulties keeping up with its competitors such as Ethiopian Airlines, Rwandair, Emirates, Qatar and Etihad, which are all fully state-owned and subsidised, and have engaged in aggressive growth strategies focused on volume and market share.

KQ’s former chief executive Sebastian Mikosz quit in mid-December after he declined to extend his three-year contract, which expired on December 31, citing personal reasons.

In July last year, chief operating officer Jan De Vegt resigned after serving for three years, and chief financial officer Hellen Mathuka was suspended in September.

KQ was listed on the NSE in 1996 after the government offered a 51 per cent stake to the public at an offer price of Ksh11.25 ($0.11) per share.



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Uhuru should woo the diaspora to fund development projects : The Standard




Kenya has a largely untapped resource that until now has remained mostly off the radar: the diaspora.
This community regularly sends money to family members at home to pay for food, education, necessary medical services and other day-to-day expenditures.
However, these remittances are rarely invested into our economy in a more than superficial way. This is partly due to lack of awareness by Kenyans in the diaspora about how investing in Kenya can yield high and secure returns. Another reason is that the government has not had strong enough “pro-diaspora policies” to attract their assets,” according to Shem Ochuodho of the Kenya Diaspora Alliance.

SEE ALSO :After Uhuru decision on housing, state must listen to people more

This is gradually changing, however. There now seems to be an effort by the country’s leadership to reach out to Kenyans abroad. The Building Bridges Initiative, for instance, engages with them by calling for more inclusivity of Kenyan citizens, no matter where they reside. It is surprising that it took this long for this recognition to be publicly made by the government, but better late than never. It is yet another testament to the kind of forward-thinking that we have seen in the BBI taskforce findings.
Kenyans in the diaspora have increasingly expressed their interest in getting more involved in local issues, whether that be through politics or the economy. Partnering with them to finance Big Four development projects is a great way to begin.
One idea that is already in motion is a green bond, which will allow Kenyans living abroad to directly invest in affordable housing, food security, local manufacturing and affordable healthcare programmes. The money could also be used to invest in agribusiness ventures and new healthcare facilities – such as cancer research and treatment centres.

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The current account deficit in Kenya was reduced from five per cent of gross domestic product in 2018 to 4.6 per cent in 2019. According to Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) Governor Patrick Njoroge, this was partly due to diaspora remittances. If Kenyans are working hard to send money home, why not help them grow their money while at the same time contributing to the prosperity of the country?
Structured strategy

SEE ALSO :The wars in Uhuru and Raila political parties


Using this logic, the CBK is working to lengthen the maturity period of Treasury bonds. The bonds are a safe and reliable source of income from interest payments every six months.
According to the Kenya Diaspora Alliance, around 75 per cent of remittances are spent on daily family consumption, while only 25 per cent is invested. Typical investments include real estate, land and savings. The government is only now beginning to develop a structured strategy to reach out to the diaspora and inform them of good ways to invest their money in public projects. While real estate is widely seen as a relatively safe investment all over the world, not a lot of information has encouraged people to invest in growth at the micro level. For example, President Uhuru can mobilise the diaspora community to finance part of the SGR from Suswa to Kisumu.
The original plan was to draw the funds from China, but this offers us a great opportunity to be more self-reliant.This is precisely the kind of unity that Uhuru and Raila Odinga sought when they shook hands in March 2018. It was something more transcendental. It was building a sense of community for people who have felt inadequately represented and and wondered about their role in the larger framework.
– The writer is an architect and comments on topical issues.

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