Global gender equality progress must not be lost

March 08, 2021

The latest CEO Update to Ibec members from Danny McCoy

Dear member, 

International Women’s Day provides a moment to reflect on how much has been achieved on gender equality in the workplace and how this has influenced societies around the globe to see the benefits of ensuring young girls and women have an equal opportunity to participate fully in the economy and achieve greater earning power and career choices. 

The pattern of downturns globally has shown a disproportionate impact on women and this current pandemic has the potential to exacerbate this trend. Today, therefore is an opportunity for business to acknowledge the evidence and to coalesce on a shared agenda to mitigate the threat. The impact of the Covid crisis on gender equality will dominate this week as we try to identify the practical actions that can be taken both in the workplace and society to reverse this erosion of progress.   

Insights into what can be done will be important to draw these strands together. Ibec has responded to that need by carrying out in-depth research across our membership. The preliminary results will explore the visibility of women in the workplace and the proactive initiatives that can be considered to ensure that gender equality remains a top priority for business. 

This research will conclude this week and we will share the output which I hope will inform us to both individually and collectively as employers to stand together to make gender equality pandemic proof. Coinciding with our research, and to ensure we are addressing the issue of gender equality and diversity beyond International Women’s Day, we will also host during the week of April 12th an international event themed “Women in Leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world”.  I will be back in touch with an invitation and details of speakers for the event. 

Ibec continues to influence with impact on the equality agenda issues in the Programme for Government.  Gender Pay Gap reporting is one of the issues that we must ensure there is a whole of society approach. The Balance for Better Business initiative continues to promote the need for greater numbers of women at senior executive and board level positions in companies in Ireland.  We have now reached 30% of female directors on ISEQ companies. This is progress but continues to be precarious, so all of our resolve on this agenda must continue. 

I would like to take the opportunity to acknowledge the important contribution made by our members in their outreach activities on International Women’s Day and their continued engagement with Ibec’s Diversity Forum’s work programme throughout the year.  We will be amplifying your activity on our social media channels during the week ahead, along with some great content from Ibec given our commitment to gender equality and policy priorities. 

Please join the conversation using #IbecIWD. 

Best wishes, 

Danny McCoy