Balance for Better Business have set actionable and progressive targets for companies listed on Euronext Dublin and for private companies in Ireland to encourage them to address the gender balance issue on their boards and leadership teams as a matter of priority.
We are pleased to note that progress has been achieved since the initiative was launched.
Achievements to March 2020
Overall, the percentage of women on listed company boards continues to improve:
ISEQ 20 companies: now 26.3%, up from 25.3% in September 2019, and 18.1% when Balance for Better Business was announced in early 2018. This surpasses the interim target of 25% by the end of 2020 set by Balance for Better Business.
Other listed companies: now 15.9%, up from 12.4% in September 2019, and 9.6% in early 2018.
- All listed companies: now 21.5%, up from 19.1% in September 2019, and 13.9% in early 2018.
Ireland has moved up to 15th position from 17th on the list of women on company boards for the largest companies in the EU (as of October 2019)
- Irish listed companies are continuing to close the gap with their EU peers. As of October 2019, Ireland was just 2.8 percentage points behind the average for the EU-28 (which was 28.8%) compared to a gap of 8 percentage points in 2018.
Ten female directors were appointed across nine companies since September 2019. Additionally, two female retirees were both replaced by female appointments.
- All companies that increased their number of female directors achieved this by increasing the size of their board relative to September 2019.
- Two companies with previously all-male boards (Datalex plc and Petroneft Resources plc) appointed female Non-Executive Directors.
The % of boards with three or more females increased from 25% to 32%.
The number of boards with 25% or more females increased from 18 to 20.
There remain 11 all-male boards among all listed companies, four of which have appointed new Non-Executive Directors since September 2019, all of whom were male. Because of changes in the composition of the ISEQ 20, one of these all-male boards is now listed on the ISEQ 20, which has had a negative impact on the rate of progress in this group.
The appointment of female executive directors is still a challenge. There were 10 male executive director appointments since September 2019, but no female appointments.
The number of female Chairs and Senior Independent Directors remains low (at 6.8% and 26.7% respectively), showing little change since September 2019.
The targets are realistic but will involve a stretch for some companies. They have been carefully calibrated to achieve the momentum that is now needed for change. In order for companies to achieve or exceed the overall targets set, it is important that care is taken to ensure an appropriate percentage of female representation among new board appointments.
We believe that setting targets is an important part of achieving change in most aspects of business, creating focus and milestones to inform action plans.
We have set the following targets for the percentage of women on the boards and leadership teams of companies traded on the Euronext Dublin markets. To ensure momentum is maintained, we have also set interim yearly targets that represent milestones between 2020 and 2023.
We have set the following targets for the percentage of women on the boards and leadership teams of private companies in Ireland. To ensure momentum is maintained, we have also set interim yearly targets that represent milestones between 2020 and 2023.