ISEQ20 companies on track to achieve female representation targets

Progress is being made on boards and leadership teams of Ireland’s 39 listed companies
Image: Andrea Piacquadio/Pexels

8 March 2022

New figures from Balance for Better Business (B4BB) have highlighted the continued progress being achieved against the targets for female representation on boards and leadership teams of Ireland’s 39 listed companies.

Irish companies on track to meet targets for female representation on boards and leadership teams, research from Balance for Better Business (B4BB) has found.

ISEQ20 companies now have an average female representation of 32%, this is up from 18% in 2018 when B4BB was established.




B4BB is a government sponsored, business led group whose aim it is to ensure that more women play a role at board level and in senior leadership teams.

The data, which was released to mark International Women’s Day, shows that the boards of other listed companies have an average of 23% female representation and that 19 of the 39 listed boards have met the key representation level of 30%.

Individual companies are also exceeding targets: four have passed 40% representation and two 50% representation of female board members. Crucially, the current appointment rate of 38% for females at board levels will be key to ensuring the targets are reached.

Leadership teams are also on track to meet their targets, with ISEQ20 companies averaging 26% female representation and other listed companies achieving 21%, still 1% off the target of 22%. Appointment rates to leadership teams are on average lower than the board appointment rate at 29% overall, which emphasises the need for firms to have a continued and long-term focus on succession planning and pipeline development.

Co-chair of B4BB Julie Sinnamon said: “Continued progress towards targets is very encouraging and supports our view that the voluntary target approach is working for Irish business.  We would like to see many more individual companies reaching targets and enhancing their gender representation at all levels in their pipelines to ensure a consistent supply of future talent for leadership teams and for boards.”

Aongus Hegarty, co-chair of B4BB, added: “We are pleased to see that the metrics are moving in the right direction,” “However, the gap between progress on boards and that of leadership teams highlights the need for a programmatic and measurable approach to be put in place to address this issue.

“The positive trend demonstrates that change can be achieved but in order to have long-term, sustainable progress we need a focus on succession planning at both board and leadership levels. The fact that the number of female chair, CEO and CFO appointments is low shows that there is still a significant amount of work to be done. We are moving in the right direction but need to remain focused on the targets and what needs to be done to achieve them.”

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