Leadership progress for women stalls at global level

Sasha Kerins, D&I lead, Grant Thornton Ireland

Grant Thornton report says 18% of Irish businesses have no women in senior management roles



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6 March 2020 | 0

With International Women’s Day on the horizon, Grant Thornton International has released its 2020 Women in Business report to shine light on the views and expectations of 10,000 businesses across 32 economies.

According to the report, 78% of mid-market businesses globally are working on removing barriers to gender parity at senior levels. Common initiatives include; creating an inclusive culture (34%), ensuring equal access to developmental opportunities (34%) and enabling flexible working (31%)

The effectiveness of such measures comes to question as progress for the representation of women in senior leadership positions has stalled. Globally, women hold 29% of senior leadership positions, which is the same as last year’s figure.




While Ireland sits above the global average, with 31% of women in leadership roles, it still has much room to improve. The report found that 18% of Irish businesses have no women in senior management roles. In 2019, this figure stood at 8%, meaning it more than doubled in twelve months.

Globally, 87% of businesses have at least one woman in senior management. In Ireland, 17% of businesses have just one woman in such a role. Of those in senior management roles, 20% are registered as CEO or managing director and 35% are CFO.

Irish businesses are making various efforts to bridge this gap; 38% have enabled flexible working, 28% are reviewing recruitment approaches and 22% are offering unconscious bias training.

“It’s really important to have females on the strategic committees that are driving our organisations and are making the decisions,” said Sasha Kerins, D&I lead, Grant Thornton Ireland. “Improved gender balance filters down from the way your senior committees are running the business. The balance at board level is really important to make real change.”

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