This month, we took the opportunity to celebrate both International Women’s Day and St. Patrick’s Day with our Sydney network. Enterprise Ireland, together with IDA Ireland and the Irish Consulate in NSW collaborated on the Women in Leadership Lunch. Twenty-five senior female business leaders from Irish and Australian business gathered to discuss progress in driving diversity in their respective industries.
The Irish Consulate in Sydney, led by Consul General Rosie Keane, has long helped to grow the women’s business network locally, hosting regular networking and knowledge events, and highlighting the contributions of Irish women to Australian society. On St. Brigid’s Day 2022, the Consulate launched its Visible Women Campaign, sharing stories, memories, and the inspiration of prominent Irish and Australian women.
IDA Ireland, led in Australia by Deirdre Buckley and Kathryn O’Shea, supports a number of initiatives to encourage women into leadership, particularly in areas related to STEM. The organisation supports Irish women in STEM from the grass roots up through several programmes to attract, retain, and promote gender diversity in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
Enterprise Ireland’s Action Plan for Women in Business was launched by former CEO, Julie Sinnamon in 2020. Among the four key pillars, the plan aims to increase the number of female-led and founded Irish Businesses exporting and scaling in overseas markets.
More recently, Enterprise Ireland launched The Level Project. Overseen by EI’s Women in Business Manager, Sinead Lonergan, The Level Project is a toolkit aimed at helping Irish SMEs develop gender balanced leadership teams. The toolkit assists companies to assess their own current position across six key themes, and to put measures in place to help improve gender balance within their own senior teams.
Though we still have a way to go, signs of progress are there. In 2011, only 7pc of Enterprise Ireland’s high-potential start-ups were led by women, but this figure had risen to 37pc in 2022. Since 2013, 75% of the funds that Enterprise Ireland supports through the Seed &Venture Capital investment have a woman at partner/investment manager level.
Through initiatives like The Level Project in Ireland and Team Ireland initiatives in Australia and New Zealand, we can move the dial in increasing the number of women in senior leadership in businesses in Ireland and scaling globally.
To learn more about The Level Project and access the free Toolkit, you can visit: www.levelproject.ie