The National Women’s Council (NWCI) has backed a new bill that would impose gender quotas for company boards.
The Irish Corporate Governance (Gender Balance) Bill 2021, introduced to Dáil Éireann by Fine Gael TD Emer Higgins, would require a 33% quota for women on company boards, rising to 40% after three years. It would apply to Irish companies with 50 or more employees, and would introduce sanctions for companies that fail to comply.
The bill would require companies to submit annual gender balance reports at boardroom level.
The NWCI also called on the Government to bring forward legislation to introduce gender quotas for boards. It said the proposed private members’ bill aligns with its ‘Balance the Odds’ campaign, which was launched earlier this year to increase women’s representation on corporate Boards.
NWCI director Orla O’Connor said the bill had the potential to improve women’s representation on boards. She and called on the Government to support it.
She said it would help bring Ireland in line with other EU countries like France and Germany, which have already successfully adopted legislative quotas on company boards.
Emma DeSouza of the NWCI said the voluntary target-led approach had not worked.
“A growing number of studies make a business case for increasing the number of women in leadership roles. Including women in senior management and on boards makes full use of the available talent, incorporates more diverse perspectives and life experiences, and – in turn – leads to greater innovation, higher productivity, and better working conditions,” she said.
Read the NWCI report on increasing gender balance on boards HERE.
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