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Women now hold 36pc of board seats at top listed firms in Ireland as target exceeded


Julie Sinnamon and Aongus Hegarty, co-chairs of Balance for Better Business

Julie Sinnamon and Aongus Hegarty, co-chairs of Balance for Better Business

Julie Sinnamon and Aongus Hegarty, co-chairs of Balance for Better Business

Women now comprise 36pc of executives at board level in the top 20 companies listed on Ireland’s stock market, a new report published this morning shows.

The figure exceeds the 30pc target that was set for the end of 2022 as well as the 33pc target that was set for the end of 2023.

The latest report from the Balance for Better Business Review Group – an independent body that was established by the Government – also shows that 74pc of the top 20 listed companies on Ireland’s Iseq now have three or more female board members.

Ireland now exceeds the average across 27 European Union member states for the proportion of women on leading company boards.

It’s the first time it has achieved that rank.

Balance for Better Business aims to improve and promote gender balance at board and leadership level of Irish business, which it says will deliver better business and societal outcomes.

The body is co-chaired by former Enterprise Ireland chief executive Julie Sinnamon and Aongus Hegarty.

Ms Sinnamon holds a number of other senior appointments. She’s a board member of Cairn Homes and a member of the investment committee of the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund.

Mr Hegarty is the president of international markets at Dell Technologies.

Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar said that the latest report is “encouraging”.

“I’m especially pleased to see that Ireland has now not only caught up with, but exceeded the EU average for the representation of women on the largest listed companies’ boards,” he said.

“This marks a significant accomplishment, especially given that this has occurred over a relatively short time period,” Mr Varadkar added.

For listed companies outside of the top 20, the percentage of women on boards is now 26pc, exceeding the 22pc target set for the end of 2022 and up 16 percentage points since 2018.

Ms Sinnamon said that the group will continue to help businesses address gender imbalance.

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“By highlighting the ways in which proactive talent management and succession planning provide robust pathways for women to succeed to more senior roles, our aim is to help foster the deeper behavioural and cultural transformation required to drive real change across Irish organisations,” she said.

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