Pictured at the official launch of the 30% Club in Ireland were Marie O’Connor, partner at PwC and 30% Club leader in Ireland; Helena Morrissey CBE, CEO of Newton Investment Management and founder of 30% Club in the UK; and Minister Richard Bruton.
The official launch of the 30% Club in Ireland took place last night at the club’s inaugural Irish event, a conference entitled ‘Business Leadership: Accelerating Gender Balance at all levels’.
The 30% Club is a global movement of international chairmen and CEOs who are committed to better gender balance at all levels of their organisations through voluntary actions. The Irish chapter of the 30% Club has been established with the support of founding chairmen Nicky Hartery, CRH; Vivienne Jupp, CIE; Michael Buckley, formerly DCC; Lochlann Quinn, ESB, Kieran McGowan, Business in the Community; and Gary Kennedy, Greencore. The group aims to reach a 30% female gender balance on Irish boards and executive management level by 2020. The 30% Club in Ireland is led by Marie O’Connor, partner at PwC.
In addition, the movement seeks to gain support for gender balance at all levels from business leaders in public, private, state and multinational companies and other interested groups. Since its soft launch last May, CEOs and Chairs from over 85 top Irish companies have become official supporters of the 30% Club.
The conference, which took place in the Science Gallery in Dublin, was attended by 120 business leaders, including founder Helena Morrissey CBE, the Irish founding chairmen, the group’s steering committee and other supporters of the 30% Club in Ireland. The event also saw the launch of a 30% Club scholarship in conjunction with the Irish Management Institute. The scholarship, worth €10,000, will enable a deserving high potential female executive to avail of an IMI Diploma in Leadership or a Diploma in Strategy and Innovation.
Speaking at the event, Minister Bruton said: “I’m delighted to launch the 30% Club in Ireland and wholly support the need to achieve better gender balance at all levels in the workplace. As part of our Programme for Government, this Government is committed to achieving 40% female representation on all State boards, and I am glad to say that boards under my Department have now exceeded this target. Senior business leaders have an important role in taking ownership of this important issue and driving the change within their organisations in order to reap the many benefits that gender balance brings.”
Marie O’Connor, 30% Club leader in Ireland said: “Research indicates that having at least 30% senior female representatives within an organisation significantly influences both a company’s culture and decision making. This leads to enhanced performance, innovation and talent retention which creates a positive impact on businesses’ corporate results and ultimately increases shareholder value. We are focused on influencing voluntary change from senior leaders as opposed to supporting mandatory quotas, which may not lead to sustainable change.”
The 30% Club was originally founded in the UK in November 2010 by Helena Morrissey CBE, CEO of Newton Investment Management, with the goal of seeing 30% of women on FTSE-100 boards by the end of 2015.
Since launch, the proportion of female FTSE100 directors in the UK has risen from 12.5% to 23% at the last count – a big increase in just four years. There are now no all-male FTSE100 boards, down from 21 when the 30% Club started and a massive drop in the number of FTSE250 companies with no female directors, from 131 to 24.