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Rethink needed to enable women get to the top tier – Higgins

Legislation required as businesses are not doing enough for gender equality

16th December 2020 - Emer Higgins, TD

The Government needs to introduce legislation to enable women to make to the top of their industry as companies aren’t doing enough to resolve the issue, a Fine Gael TD has said.


Deputy Emer Higgins, a former Chief of Staff at PayPal, was responding to a report published by the Balance for Better Business group which found all Executive Director appointments at publicly quoted companies over the 18 months until September 1st last were filled by men.


The same report shows the rate at which women are being appointed to any position on company boards has slowed down.


“We know that diversity of thought leads to better business; and we know that seeing women in senior roles inspires the next generation of women to realise their potential.


“And yet, we still have all-male boards in some Irish companies. We’re not moving with the times and it’s simply not good enough. We have seen some improvements in recent years, but this report shows it is clearly not enough.


“The Government needs to introduce legislation to enable women reach the boardroom or top management structure in their chosen profession or business.


“There are so many experienced, capable women who aren’t making it to the top of their game because too many barriers stand in their way.


“Childcare, maternity leave and unconscious discrimination remain hurdles for too many women. We need Irish companies to adopt a modern approach that recognises that. Tapping into the 21st century talent that’s out there and connecting it with their market needs is an advantage for business,” Deputy Higgins said.


“If the experience of the last 18 months is anything to go by, it would suggest that Ireland needs to adopt a more radical approach to inclusion at board-room level.


“Germany has led the way on this and it’s something we need to look at. If legislation is needed to become the catalyst for a cultural change that delivers balanced boardrooms – then that’s something I’m certainly willing to lead on.


“I believe we need to modernise the corporate world and break down conscious and unconscious biases to give women access to a more even playing field,” concluded Deputy Higgins.

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