New Gender Balance, Diversity, and Inclusion Guidance for State Boards

By Gemma Creagh - Last update


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The Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Michael McGrath TD, has published a new Annex on Gender Balance, Diversity, and Inclusion to supplement the existing Code of Practice for the Governance of State Bodies.

The Annex sets out measures designed to enhance diversity on State Boards and addresses recommendations made by an Inter-Departmental Group on Gender Balance on State Boards. That report found that further work was required to build on recent improvements in gender balance on the Boards of State bodies.

Gender Balance, Diversity, and Inclusion

The Annex includes:

  • New reporting measures designed to provide greater transparency around Boards which have not reached appropriate levels of gender balance;
  • State bodies which have not reached the 40% target will be required to set out the measures that will be taken to deliver on this target;
  • Ministers to be informed of the gender balance on State Boards at the time of making further appointments;
  • Each State Board to report annually on its progress in promoting equality, diversity and inclusion within the organisation;
  • Board evaluation processes should be expanded to consider issues around gender diversity, as a means of enhancing Board effectiveness;
  • Board terms should be varied to allow for an acceleration towards better gender balance in membership.

Speaking today the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Michael McGrath TD said

“This is the first major enhancement to the 2016 Code of Practice for the Governance of State Bodies. Although there has been very good progress in improving gender equality in State boards, still, as of last year approximately 40% of State Boards did not yet meet this requirement. Ireland is making good progress at achieving gender balance on State boards, but the progress is uneven and is far from complete. We need to do more. Balanced and diverse boards give our State bodies access to a broader range of experiences, perspectives and skillsets. This strengthens Board independence and reduces the likelihood of ‘groupthink’.”

Minister McGrath added:

“As Minister for Public Expenditure & Reform, I will advance equality, inclusion and public wellbeing in Budget 2021, when I will be providing further details of progress in equality budgeting, and in shaping our budgets by reference to the wellbeing of the nation.”


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Gemma Creagh

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