International Womens Day – Irish companies advancing female empowerment in the workplace

International Women’s Day is a day to celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. In recent years a number of organisations have been created or continued in Ireland in order to advance women in the workplace and break the glass ceilings that previously existed. It’s these companies, their participants and the support system around them that we celebrate. All information below is taken either from the companies website or the companies socitodayal media feeds:

An initiative by the Government of Ireland the ACORNS programme is designed to create and support more female entrepreneurs in rural communities. The six month programme provides new female entrepreneurs with female “lead entrepreneurs”) so that they can provide guidance and advice to the new business. So far more than 250 female entrepreneurs have taken part in the ACORNS initiative to date and with the challenges surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic, support for new business owners is more important than ever.

A student-led enterprise that came out of the Enactus Programme, Any Time of The Month was started by students in The University of Limerick when their research said “that 1 in 2 secondary school students and 1 in 3 third level students in Ireland experience period poverty”. Since then they have created a network of Any Time of The Month ambassadors, created a price structure for their corporate workplaces workplaces and used the profits of these workshops to give out period products to those in period poverty around Ireland. 

A registered social enterprise born out of the pandemic, according to its website “AwakenHub’s mission is to level up opportunity, access and connectivity for women founders throughout the Island of Ireland by removing barriers to investment, scale and success.” Founded by five Irish women from North and South, they have built a community of 3000 entrepreneurs in 2.5 years

  • Hold regular online community events to which any woman founder, want to be founder or ally are welcome to attend. 
  • In person meet-ups around Ireland, North and South
  • Deliver the only all island of Ireland Accelerator Programme SheGenerate for very early & newbie women founders having onboarded almost 90 women in its first 2 years
  • Curate an online private AwakenClub made up of early-stage women founders, company builders, investors and ‘big sisters’ offering informal advice and guidance.
  • 2023 will also see the launch of their sister company AwakenAngels – a women led investor syndicate investing in women founded businesses. 

According to their website “BPW Ireland is a vibrant membership-based organisation dedicated to the support, advocacy and development of professional and businesswomen based in Ireland. BPW Ireland members are women in business and the professions, who come together to learn from each other, support each other, advocate for women generally whilst learning from and enjoying the company of other fantastic females.”

Business In The Community is an organisation that works with large organisation to increase their Corporate Social Responsibilities in ways such as their Low Carbon Pledge that reduces their members carbon emissions. However, they also have job coaches and career guidance counselors available to reach underrepresented groups, and have programmes available to:

  • EPIC Programme helps migrants to Ireland 
  • Ready For Work This programme assist People with Disabilities 
  • Women@Work For Women getting back into the workplace 

Our vision is an Ireland where everyone’s skills and potential are recognised by a society that champions workplace equality and fair remuneration.

Our mission is to provide innovative, targeted services and programmes to help people (re)enter the workplace to reach sustained economic independence.

The goal of our advocacy work is to achieve full gender equality in the workplace through meaningful engagement with Government, business and civil society leaders. For more info on our advocacy and campaigning work, go to our campaigns page.

Flexible Recruitment agencies, Employmum and Employflex were created by Karen O’Reilly, a professional accountant with over 20 years of experience. Karen and her team are all about finding the perfect solutions for employers and employees – we match employers with flexible and remote roles to our high calibre candidates seeking flexibility. 

Their back up dream team of HR consultants, Coaches and Change Managers can help make your company a flexible place to work. They also offer training for employees and employers to navigate the world of remote work.

To date they have had a 93% success rate in placing candidates and are proud to lead the flexible work revolution in Ireland.

To date they have had a 93% success rate in placing candidates, 4019k, they currently have active flexible jobs seekers on their database and a 96% Candidate satisfaction rate

An initiative by GMIT for early stage female founded companies in the Connaught region. The 12 week programme is designed to give new founders the confidence to develop their business plan, critically assess their products, get access to university resources in terms of research and facilities and then give them the opportunity to pitch their businesses and get feedback from business experts.

Created by former Irish Hockey International, Dublin Gealic Footballer and Motorsport Data Engineer Nicci Daly, it was Nicci’s time in Motorsport that inspired her to create this business, targeting more teenage girls to have an interest in STEM. The entrepreneur has created Go Girls Karting, a Karting team made exclusively with female teens and with the help of a grant from Sport Ireland aims to put more than 1000 teens behind the wheel. They’ve created a team for international tournaments and given workshops to schools throughout the country.

According to their website “Going for Growth is designed to support women who are serious about growing their businesses and are the owner manager of a business which has been trading for at least two years. At Going for Growth, we believe that entrepreneurs learn best from each other. Accordingly, the initiative is based on interactive roundtable sessions that are facilitated, not by consultants, academics or professional trainers, but by successful entrepreneurs.”

According to their co-founder Niamh Tallon “The company’s mission is to empower women in sport from grass route to elite level and widen the coverage that goes with it.” The company has driven a huge increase in the coverage of women sport and they want to use this to levage great participation, funding and recognition to inspire the next generation to get more involved in sport, because according to research “94% of female executives in the workplace in Ireland were involved in sport from an early age”.

According to The Irish Farmers Journal “Homeless Period Ireland is a Non-governmental Organisation that aims to support those in Ireland with access issues to mentstuational health products”. They work with homeless charities in Ireland so that those that access their services have access to period products. In April 2021 Lidl became the first retailer in Ireland to offer free period products through their app, so that all those that need them can access them.

Ireland’s first dedicated menopause clinic, and Ireland’s only multidisciplinary menopause clinic, driven by over 40 years of medical expertise. Their mission is to empower you to optimise your health and vitality during your menopausal years, so that you can continue to live the life you love. The Menopause Hub helps organsisations to become menopause friendly, through our awareness and education training programmes

Katie Doyle was working in the travel industry until the pandemic hit. Katie had been looking for a mentor while creating her own business but found there was a big gap in the market for female mentors for young people. So, Katie decided to create her own 6 week programme where that match female Mentors and Mentees in entrepreneurship, corporate careers and self-development. In the two years since it opened, the company has gone global! They’ve matched Ireland to Canada, Atlanta to London, Shanghai to Edinburgh, the Middle East to Botswana. In addition to winning a number of awards along the way.

Having been founded in 1973, The National Women’s Council of Ireland now has over 190 membership organisations. According to their website “The ambition of the National Women’s Council is an Ireland where every woman enjoys true equality and no woman is left behind. This ambition shapes and informs our work, and, with our living values, how we work.”

We provide an easy solution to the problem of attracting parents of young children to a company. Our digital platform that blends always-on resources with live coaching and training supports the 55% of your workforce that are parents, and their Managers. We make it easy for HR to make work a better place, attract talent, reduce attrition and increase productivity. We take data seriously – our Platform55 diagnostic allows you to track and measure your employee NPS and receive valuable insights. We do what we do because supporting families and their managers is not just the right thing to do, it makes commercial sense too.

UCC’s Bystander intervention aims to raise awareness of not only the importance of safe and effective interventions, but also encourage staff and students to become active bystanders and develop the skills and awareness to address sexual violence harassments across third level institutions.  UCC Bystander released a 15 minute starter video that includes key concepts on how to become an active bystander. This video introduces students to practise becoming a prosocial bystander and also identify and challenge perceived norms of unacceptable behaviour. This video features Prof Louise Crowley, the director of UCC Bystander intervention, as well as students and alumni (student ambassadors) that have undergone the Bystander programme and therefore share their experience and knowledge of becoming an active bystander. A key concept within the 15 minute video identifies that to be a prosocial bystander, consent has to be practised at all times. The programme has been taken up by many different societies within the college, the colleges sports teams and local sports teams around the Cork area. After the murder of Aisling Murphy Prof Crowley appeared on Second Captains Podcast, where she was inundated with requests from schools, third level, sports clubs to present the programme to their establishment.

Ireland’s national freephone number for those who are being abused by current or former boyfriends, partners or husbands. The phone line is operated 24/7, 365 days a year by their volunteers who offer a non-judgemental listening, advise, guidance and other services for women in domestic abuse 

Women’s Aid is a national, feminist organisation working to prevent and address the impact of domestic violence and abuse.  We do this by advocating, influencing, training, and campaigning for effective responses to reduce the scale and impacts of domestic abuse on women and children and providing high quality, specialised, integrated, support services. Our vision is an equal Ireland, with zero tolerance of domestic abuse and all other forms of violence against women. 

Women’s Aid’s Training and Development Department has a proven track record of designing and delivering specialist domestic violence and abuse training to local and national organisations throughout Ireland. We support organisations in the statutory, community and voluntary sectors, as well as corporate bodies, to enhance and improve responses to women who are subjected to domestic violence and abuse.  All Women’s Aid training is informed and guided by our decades of experience directly supporting women and by models of best practice. 

Women’s Aid also offers the Employer Response to Domestic Abuse training package. This is a specialist service for employers looking to create a supportive and safe workplace environment for employees subjected to domestic abuse as part of their equality strategy. The package focuses on three areas: training, policy development and integration, and awareness-raising. 

Women in Film

According to their website “Women in Film and Television Ireland seeks to achieve gender balance in our industry by:

  • Working towards equal employment opportunities for women
  • Ensuring unconscious bias is eliminated in hiring practice
  • Researching and maintaining quantitative data on women working in the audiovisual sector
  • Providing a forum and networking opportunities for female industry professionals
  • Supporting women’s continued professional development
  • Spotlighting media women’s professional achievements
  • Supporting diverse and positive representations of women in industry
  • Supporting female professionals working in the audiovisual sector

“Women on Air is a community of like-minded women and men who want to hear and see more women on the airwaves”. They run a mentor-based training programme for women who have something to say but are not sure footed when it comes to negotiating the media landscape. They have also set up a database for women who are broadcast competent to bring their expertise to media professionals. We urge women who have that expertise and competency to sign up on our website. All board members and volunteers donate their time free of charge, all with an aim of increasing female representation in radio today.

Long before working from home became the norm Ciara Garvan, decided that she had spent one to many days on the M50 in rush hour, and she went about creating WorkJuggle – A recruitment firm that assists people that specialise in matching employers offering alternatives to 9-5 Monday-Friday type employers to candidates that need this type of employment (part-time, reduced hours, working from home etc), so that they can have a better work/life balance.

The 30% Club is a global campaign supported by board Chairs and CEOs, committed to achieving better gender balance at leadership levels throughout their organisation, for better business outcomes. Operating in Ireland since 2015 our membership is 300+ medium to large organisations from all sectors of industry, representing almost 700,000 employees across the full breadth of Irish Business.   The commitment to join is always through the Chair or CEO or the most senior business lead in Ireland. Our “ask” of Chair/CEO supporters is a belief in the value of better gender balance at senior levels and the view that senior business leaders should drive the change.  

We divide our work across three pillars –  activating senior leaders in driving their diversity ambitions, raising national awareness, and enabling future women leaders.   Our work focuses on representing business views; supporting oganisations with practical collaborative initiatives; and providing supporting mechanisms for employees to grow the talent pipeline.  The daily workings of the group are managed by a volunteer panel representing a cross section of supporter organisations. For a sense of some of our deliverables last year click here

There is no requirement for companies supporting the 30% Club to already have 30% women on their board or cSuite but we would hope that it would be a genuine ambition. 

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