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Government approves new measures to promote gender balance on State Boards

Minister of State with responsibility for Equality, New Communities and Culture Mr. Aodhán Ó Ríordáin T.D., has received the approval of the Government to take new measures to promote gender equality on State Boards.

A target of achieving a minimum of 40 per cent representation of both women and men on all State Boards was set originally in 1993. At 36.2 per cent overall, the 2013 data for female representation on State Boards show a very positive step forward over previous years which had been averaged at 34 per cent. However, a number of Departments fall below this average and there remains significant under-representation of both sexes on certain Boards.

The Government has therefore approved new measures to promote gender balance on State Boards, reaffirming its commitment to achieve the target of 40 per cent representation of each gender on all State Boards within the lifetime of the current Programme for Government.

Minister of State Ó Ríordáin welcomed progress reflected in the 2013 figures and the arrangements now being put in place commenting that

“Meeting the 40% target by 2016 is a specific commitment of this Government and we are now requiring each Government Department to plan how it intends to achieve this. These new measures will be accompanied by closer monitoring, with each Government Department to report on a six-monthly basis on their progress”.

Addressing the under-representation of women on State Boards, Minister Ó Ríordáin highlighted a new initiative to be developed in the Department of Justice and Equality to assist in the sourcing of suitably qualified female candidates for appointment to State Boards. Minister Ó Ríordáin said

“I am very pleased to announce that the Department will undertake a pilot project to develop a talent bank of women who would be prepared to serve on State Boards, as a resource to be made available to Ministers and other nominating bodies in meeting this target”.

The development of such a talent bank had been included as a recommendation in two reports associated with the implementation of the National Women’s Strategy 2007-2016. The Mid-Term Review of the National Women’s Strategy and Towards Gender Parity in Decision-Making in Ireland were prepared by the Monitoring Committee of the National Women’s Strategy chaired by the Minister of State formerly with responsibility for Equality, Ms. Kathleen Lynch, T.D.

The Minister believes that the implementation of these new measures will have a positive impact on gender-balance on State Boards and looks forward to working in close co-operation with his Ministerial colleagues to achieve this Programme for Government commitment.

24 July, 2014


Notes for Editors

Women’s Representation on State Boards

The then Government set a target of 40 per cent for women’s representation on State Boards in 1993 in accordance with a recommendation of the Second Commission on the Status of Women.

Women’s representation on all non-commercial State Boards increased from 15 per cent in 1992 to 29 per cent in 2002 and reached 34.1 per cent in 2006. Since that time it had fluctuated very close to 34 per cent until the end of 2012. The data for 2013 show an increase to 36.2 per cent, a very positive step forward.