Women's Council criticises lack of female representation in the boardroom

Women's Council criticises lack of female representation in the boardroom

The National Women's Council is recommending a 40% gender quota for non-State boards. Stock image

The pace of change in terms of achieving gender balance in boardrooms is "too slow".

That is according to a new report to be issued by the National Women's Council focused on the topic of female representation on corporate boards.

The report, due to be launched on Thursday, will also examine the effectiveness of legislative gender quotas for corporate boards in Ireland.

An online event is to take place on Thursday, June 24, as part of the report’s launch. It will include findings on the number of female members on corporate boards and the number of executive directors.

Past reports published by the NWC has highlighted a lack of training opportunities and a lack of affordable childcare as key barriers to women accessing and participating in the workforce.

The NWC is recommending a 40% gender quota for non-State boards. Results from the most recent Deloitte report on women in the boardroom found that in Europe, only 25.8% of board seats were held by women. In North America and Asia, it was even worse, with women occupying only 18% and 9.3% of board seats respectively.

Speakers at the launch include director of the National Women’s Council, Orla O’ Connor, MEP Frances Fitzgerald and report author and associate professor at Maynooth University, Dr Pauline Cullen.

A live panel discussion featuring a number of guests will also take place during the event.

Speaking in advance of tomorrow’s event, leadership coordinator at the National Women’s Council Emma De Souza said the approach to achieving gender equality in corporate boardrooms “has been to rely on voluntary efforts and soft measures, which our report will demonstrate is simply not enough. 

Whilst significant gains have been made over the decades, women remain substantially underrepresented in senior roles and decision-making spaces. The pace of change is too slow.” 

Ms De Souza described gender quotas as “a blunt instrument” but “a necessary tool in sparking substantial change”. 

The NWC is recommending a 40% gender quota on non-state boards.

The National Women’s Council is the leading national representative organisation for women and women’s groups in Ireland.

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