Number of women on State boards at highest number ever

Women also account for 27.1% of all chairs of State boards

Number of women on State boards at highest number ever

A conference room is seen in the German city of Osterode | Image: Frank May/DPA/PA Images

New figures show the number of women on State boards is at its highest rate ever.

According to data for July 2018, women make up 40.6% of all appointees.

Women also account for 27.1% of all chairs of State boards.

The percentages have increased by 0.7% since December 2017.

The increase means a 40% target has been surpassed - 1,051 State board positions are now held by women.

While 27% of all chairs of State boards are also women.

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan said: "I am pleased to report that the trend is going healthily in the right direction.

"44.3% of those appointed or re-appointed to State boards between January and July 2018 were women.

"Women were chosen for 178 positions.

"These figures prove that concerted action to prioritise female leadership will achieve strong results.

"The Government is prioritising action to promote women’s leadership across a range of sectors."

File photo of city workers | Image: Philip Toscano/PA Wire/PA Images

Minister Flanagan added that he plans to report to Government in September on the progress that has been made.

"I hope that today’s figures will convince women to consider applying for positions on State boards.

"We need the talent of women as well as men at the disposal of public sector organisations to equip them for the challenges of a fast-changing world."

The figures come as the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar launched a 'Better Balance for Better Business' initiative on Monday.

He, along with a number of ministers, announced the co-chairs and members of a business-led review group to promote better gender balance on corporate boards and in the senior management of leading Irish companies.

Gary Kennedy and Bríd Horan will co-chair the group.

Assisting Mr Kennedy and Ms Horan are senior figures in Irish business and the public service: Carol Andrews, Mark FitzGerald, Aongus Hegarty, Danny McCoy, Martin Shanahan, Julie Sinnamon, Fiona Tierney, and Orlaigh Quinn.

The percentage of women on the boards of Irish listed companies continues to be very low.

Over one-third of companies listed on the main markets of Euronext Dublin have no women in the boardroom.

Women currently make up only 18.1% of directors of Irish-registered ISEQ20 companies, which is significantly lower than the EU average of 26.2% for large publicly-listed companies.