FORMER UK prime minister Theresa May will challenge Irish bosses to make their business a place where their daughter or granddaughter can progress.
Speaking at a 30% Club conference, she is expected to urge male CEOs to ask themselves what they are doing to promote gender equality.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar will tell an audience of business leaders we are an “unfinished republic” until we achieve gender equality, and there is a long way to go.
The 30% Club supports achieving a minimum gender balance of 30pc women at senior decision-making levels in companies and organisations.
Lady Theresa May will speak about encouraging the next generation of female decision makers at the event in Dublin Castle.
Her speech calls on “every single male CEO who looks around his boardroom table and sees nine out of ten male faces staring back at him to ask themselves what they are doing to make their business one in which their daughter or grand-daughter can progress”.
“We must ask what senior leaders are doing to ensure that they are drawing on as broad a range of opinions and experience as possible,” she will say.
“Part of that must be thinking creatively in terms of recruitment - to not just look at those people who fit a traditional career path, but to open up opportunities to others and so ensure a proper pipeline of talent into the future.”
She will say this does not just apply to private sector businesses. She is expected to congratulate An Garda Síochana for becoming the 300th member of the 30% Club. She will say they have done “so much” to highlight the importance of diversity in the workplace.
The Taoiseach is set to emphasise that Ireland is an attractive country for investment, and funds and companies want to see progressive and balanced leadership teams.
He notes that gender pay gap reporting became obligatory for Irish companies last year for the first time in his speech.
“This was an important step in both highlighting and working towards ending the gender pay gap, and I know many companies are focused on improving this in their own organisations,” he will say.
“It makes sense to ensure that boards and senior leadership teams of companies in Ireland are diverse.
"Not just because it is the right thing to do as women make up half the population and represent half the skills and talent, but also because it makes economic and business sense. It is well established that companies with higher levels of gender diversity, and indeed diversity in general, on their boards and senior leadership teams achieve better economic performance.”
Garda Commissioner Drew Harris will say that while An Garda Síochána has improved gender diversity, there is a recognition that there is “more to do”:
“An Garda Síochána’s two deputy commissioners are female and 50pc of our senior leadership team are now women. We have women heading up many of our operational and administrative functions, and we have one of the highest percentages of female police officers in Europe,” he says in his speech.
“However, women should be better represented at inspector and superintendent level, and to that end in 2019 we set up a women’s network.”