Research finds state agencies boards under remit of An Taoiseach have the lowest proportion of women – Mary Lou McDonald TD

Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald TD has today called on the Taoiseach to take proactive measures to address the entrenched gender imbalance in senior posts across the civil service and non-commercial state board membership.

The Dublin Central TD was responding to the findings of the latest Public Sector Trends research published by the Institute of Public Administration.

Teachta McDonald said:

“Despite the many initiatives announced by the Taoiseach and Minister for Public Expenditure & Reform to improve gender balance across the civil and public service women continue to be under represented.

“One of the most disappointing findings of the research is that Department of An Taoiseach has the lowest proportion of women on non-commercial state agencies boards under its aegis. This sends a terrible signal to working women in the public and private sectors.

“Similarly the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform whose responsibility it is to deliver the Civil Service Renewal Plan has the fourth lowest proportion of women on the boards under his department’s aegis.

“The highest proportion of women on non-commercial states agency boards continues to be in Departments with responsibility for social policy such as Education & Skills, Children & Youth Affairs and Health.

“However the share of women in professional posts such as senior economists is high in comparison to other EU countries. This is proof in itself that there are women in the workforce with the necessary education and skill sets to populate boards under the aegis of Departments such as DPER, Finance and Enterprise.

“Fine Gael has committed to a 50/50 gender balance target in appointments at senior posts within the civil service. Yet this latest research shows that proportion of women in senior roles remains below 2012 levels at between a third and a quarter of these posts placing Ireland behind other European countries.

“Women account for approximately 60 per cent of civil service staff. Whilst the proportion of women in middle management posts has nearly reached gender parity women are not making it to the top posts in equal numbers.

“Not only has Ireland one of the lowest share of women in senior management posts in Europe, the study tells us that the state also has the lowest number of women judges in courts of first instance and appeal.

“If we are to have any confidence in the Taoiseach’s commitment to opening up senior management to women in the public sector we need to see him lead visible and renewed efforts. Diversity of state board membership, including gender parity, must also be delivered on.”