Irish listed companies make slight progress on gender balance

Government-backed group repeats call for all-male boards to appoint women

The Republic is now ranked 15th in the EU for the representation of women on the boards of publicly quoted companies, up from 17th, according to an update from the Balance for Better Business group.

The group, which was launched by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in 2018, said it was pleased by progress made in the percentage of women on listed company boards.

Among Iseq 20 companies, or the 20 largest equities on the Irish Stock Exchange, 26.3 per cent of board directors are female, up from 18.1 per cent two years ago. This surpasses an interim target of 25 per cent female representation by the end of 2020.

On listed companies outside the Iseq 20, 15.9 per cent of boardroom positions are held by women, compared with 9.6 per cent two years ago.


However, 11 companies trading on the Euronext Dublin have all-male boards. They are are Amryt Pharma, Applegreen, Donegal Investment Group, Great Western Mining Corp, Mainstay Medical International, Malin Corporation, Mincon Group, Open Orphan, Ormonde Mining, Ovoca Bio and Providence Resources.

“While we are pleased with the continued progress on the quest for greater balance, one change that would really move the dial is for every company to appoint an additional woman, and in particular we call again on those companies with all-male boards to appoint at least one woman,” said the group’s co-chair, Bríd Horan.

“It is disappointing to see that we still have so many companies who do not see this as a priority given the clearly established business benefits.”

Gary Kennedy, who co-chairs the group alongside Ms Horan, said the overall trend was positive, but it was "particularly encouraging" that a third of boards now had three or more women in their ranks.

Laura Slattery

Laura Slattery

Laura Slattery is an Irish Times journalist writing about media, advertising and other business topics