A better board is a gender balanced board
- The trend is now going in the right direction for female representation at board level. It is now at 32% for the top 20 companies in Ireland compared to 18% a few years ago.
- There is a new focus on female representation in senior board positions such as chairs, CEOs and within leadership teams.
- There is slower progress in the leadership area.
- Three key recommendations for companies to focus on are:
- Set targets: Decide the diversity goal you want to achieve in leadership and build actions to reach the goal
- Build a succession plan
- Report on progress: be transparent and accountable within the organisation and with customers
- The EU directive of 40% women on boards is a useful way to get organisations to set targets, get focus and get buy-in.
- Getting buy-in at leadership level will have a more positive outcome.
- There is evidence that some larger PLCs are not listening. By putting a spotlight on the organisations that are listening and how they’re being positively impacted is helping other pay attention.
- Women looking for a role on a board need to connect with people making the decisions. Raise your awareness of the network, get training in the skills you need, join a register like the 30% Club.
- Examples of organisations that are getting gender balance right are Dell, Vodafone and CPL. They set clear targets, the initiatives are fully backed by the CEO and they have created focus groups on gender diversity.
- If your headhunter is returning all male candidates, look for a different headhunter.
- The pipeline to replace Chairs and CEOs is usually a couple of years so you can start identifying a diverse candidate list well in advance.
- Data is always essential. What gets measured, gets done.
- It is essential to have inclusivity of leadership as well as diversity. This will help bring out better decisions.
- There is a great opportunity to get experience on boards in charities and NGOs.
As the EU agrees to 40% of women on boards by 2026 in listed companies, Julie Sinnamon and Aongus Hegarty, Co-Chairs of Balance for Better Business, will be sharing their views on gender balance in the boardroom in our next free webinar. Will the directive help accelerate change in Europe’s biggest boardrooms? Why was it stalled for so long? Are organisations really willing to embrace diversity in all its forms?
Julie and Aongus will be drawing on examples to demonstrate why businesses with gender balanced boards and leadership teams perform better.
It promises to be a lively and informative debate. Get your questions ready for Julie and Aongus and we’ll see you there.
Julie is Co-Chair of Balance for Better Business. She is also former CEO of Enterprise Ireland, a government agency responsible for the growth of Irish-owned businesses in global markets. She is a strong proponent of initiatives that drive diversity and the building of balanced teams in the workplace. Julie is a champion for women engaging at all levels within both the public and private sectors.
Aongus is Co-Chair of Balance for Better Business. He is also President of Dell Technologies for international markets. Aongus is a respected commentator on business, innovation, leadership, digital transformation, sustainability and diverse and inclusive workforces. He speaks frequently at major global conferences and events. The Economist Global Diversity List recognised Aongus as one of the Top 10 Diversity Champions.
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