Belfast Telegraph

Time has arrived to get more women on board ventures

By Margaret Canning

The representation of women on boards in Northern Ireland has a long way to go. Researching appointment reports on our top companies shows that just three out of 20 surpass Lord Davies' target for the FTSE 100, of having a 25% female board.

Helen Kirkpatrick, a veteran of many company boards, pinpoints 1981 as a time when things began to change for women in the workplace.

That was a year when her accountancy intake at Deloitte, Haskins & Sells was 50% male and 50% female - compared to previous years when there had been perhaps 10 men and two women embarking on training to became number crunchers.

It's even more true 34 years later that the take-up of many professions is evenly split between male and female.

That's true of everything from law to medicine - though Stem-related professions such as engineering have some way to go before they reach a gender balance. A recent get-together with partners at a major law firm, where seven out of the 12 partners present were female, reinforced the impression that barriers are being eroded.

But our survey of top companies shows that boards are male-dominated - with the exceptions of Danske, SHS and gender balance board leader, UTV Media plc.

It's not often you can say that the corporate world needs to catch up on the professions, but this is a clear case where it should.

Belfast Telegraph


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