Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Stalled EU equality legislation on the agenda at National Women’s Council event- Lynn Boylan MEP

3 March, 2015 - by Senator Lynn Boylan

Dublin Sinn Féin MEP Lynn Boylan has spoken today at the National Women’s Council of Ireland event entitled Better Boards, Better Business, Better Society.

Ms Boylan used the opportunity to raise the matter of stalled European legislation aimed at tackling a number of issues that could lead to a greater number of women taking up positions on boards.

“This year the EU is due to adopt its new strategy on gender equality in the workplace. This strategy should be part of the EU-wide framework for the realisation of women’s rights in the European Union.

Creating gender balance in decision making is something that I hold very important and will certainly seek to be actively involved in shaping the EU directive on Improving Gender Balance on Boards.

However this directive is one of many currently stuck in Council due to resistance from individual member states. This ongoing intransigence from member states coupled with the lack of transparency in the council adds to the sense that equality is being sidestepped to protect ill-informed business interests. All the evidence shows that gender equality is good for business.

Other stalled directives that could greatly improve the lives of women across the EU include the Maternity Leave directive and the Anti-Discrimination Directive.

While EU directives are important, it is no justification to let national governments off the hook. The Irish Government should seize the opportunity as it has with introducing gender quotas for the elections, and follow other European countries in introducing legislation to ensure that gender balance on boards is addressed.

Gender quotas are a crude instrument but are a necessary tool in the kit to begin addressing the gender imbalance.

Women making up just 10% of Irish corporate boards isn’t good enough. 36% representation on state boards, while an improvement, still falls short of a target of 40% that was set in 1993. We must do better.”

Connect with Sinn Féin