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Women remain significantly under-represented on Irish boards

Women remain significantly under-represented on Irish boards, according to new research from Accreate, the leading global executive search firm.

Analysis of the composition of the boards of companies quoted on the Irish Stock Exchange shows that female representation on ISEQ boards has increased from 8% to 14% since 2013, with women making up only 61 out of a total of 423 board seats. Under EU rules by 2020 the boards of all stock exchange-listed companies must have at least 40% representation for each gender among their non-executive directors.

Key findings of the Accreate research are:

Caroline Baldwin, Partner, Accreate commented, “The figures clearly show that progress on improving gender balance on boards is painfully slow in Ireland. We remain an outlier from the progress being made among other European countries.”

“As things stand, Irish boards are missing out on the proven benefits of having more balanced boards. The overwhelming finding of research from around the globe is that boards with gender balance perform better and produce better results. This includes key business indicators like return on equity, capital investment and sales. Research also shows that companies with fewer women on boards had more governance-related controversies than average.”

“There is a good case for the Government to increase pressure on these boards through measures like publishing a list of companies that are meeting and those that are missing these targets.”

“As a company, we are strongly committed to playing our part in improving gender balance in business in Ireland. We know from working with many of Ireland’s leading companies the benefits that greater gender balance brings to businesses and the boardroom and we also know the best female talent in Ireland and what they are capable of bringing to the table based on their merit, not necessarily their gender.”