30% Club & Glandore – Representation is Everything
Only one in nine CEOs in Ireland were women in 2019. In the same year, 19.1% of Directors in Irish Listed Companies, 23.1% of Non-Executive Directors and a mere 8.5% percent of Executive Directors were women.
The reality is that when the biggest decisions are made at senior management level in some of the most influential companies in the Irish market, women take up very few seats at the table, and sometimes, aren’t in the room at all.
2022 marks 100 years since women received equal voting rights in Ireland, and it’s been approximately half as long since the Marriage Bar was lifted in 1973 (a ban that prevented women from continuing their careers post-marriage) – this means that women alive today would have had their careers cut-short as a result. In Ireland, we have never had a woman as Taoiseach, in fact the female representation within our Dail is a mere 22.5%.
It is perhaps unsurprising given how recently some of these restricted laws were still in place that female representation in business and politics is low, but this is where groups like the 30% Club come in.
The 30% Club is a global campaign supported by Board Chairs and CEOs of medium and large organisations, committed to achieving better gender balance at leadership levels and throughout their organisation, for better business outcomes. Established in 2015, the Irish Chapter hosts more than 260 organisations representing more than 600,000 employees. Their mission is simple, to have at least 30% representation of all women on all boards and c-suites globally.
Representation may not seem like the most important milestone, but how can any business or organisation fully cater to the needs of its clients and customers if only 50% of their client base is considered. Without women weighing into these decisions, we are left with design, infrastructure and policy that fails women.
In a famous example of this, another 2019 study discovered that the majority of automobile safety features are designed & tested using male crash-test dummies alone, despite male and female bodies performing very differently in a collision – this lack of representation means that women have significantly higher chances of serious injury in a car accident than their male counterparts.
The 30% Club understands the power of representation and its real-life implications, and their strategy for achieving it is threefold. First to activate Chairs and CEOs as members, secondly to influence those with power to drive change and lastly, to enable future women leaders.
As a family business led by three sisters, Glandore is uniquely invested in this mission. As part of Glandore’s Hear from Her series we look to create a platform for female business leaders to share their experiences and the challenges they have faced in the corporate world and in their personal lives, and hopefully inspire women at the start of their career to be ambitious. We hope to create and uphold standards that support equality and allow for future men and women to be successful, both in the workplace and at home.
We encourage our partners and member businesses to look at their own boards, and c-suite level and ask themselves are they meeting that 30%, and if not, to engage with organisations like the 30% Club, Going for Growth, 100 Women in Finance and many others that are working towards gender equality.