The Case for Legislative Gender Quotas

23rd May 2022

Posted In: Be In The Frame

The National Women’s Council, in partnership with the Norwegian Embassy, will host an online seminar titled ‘Increasing Gender Balance on Boards: The Case for Legislative Quotas in Ireland’, on Friday, 27th May from 10:00am – 12:00pm at the Irish Architectural Archive, 45 Merrion Square East, D02VY60. 

The focus of the event, with contributions from political, business and international leaders, will explore how mandating gender quotas on boards improves the representation of women, in comparison to any other action.

The event is part of the National Women’s Council ‘Balance the Odds’ campaign which aims to increase women’s representation on corporate boards.

The seminar will feature a keynote address, focusing on how gender quotas in Norway increased women’s representation on boards from 7% to 40% within a few years, while a panel discussion will examine the Irish context and how learnings from Norway and other countries can be applied to Irish legislation, and employer policies here in Ireland.

Event Programme 

The keynote address will be delivered by Liv Monical Stubholt – a recognised business lawyer and former politician for the Norwegian Centre Party. She will present the positive impact legislative quotas have had for boards in Norway, and the challenges that remain.

There will then be a panel discussion on the Irish context, and how learnings from the Norway example could be implemented in Ireland. The panel will be chaired by Joyce Fegan, journalist with the Irish Examiner, and will include:

•Mari Skåre, Norwegian Ambassador to Ireland;

•Orla O’Connor, Director of the National Women’s Council;

•Sonya Lennon, broadcaster, entrepreneur, designer and founder of WorkEqual, Sonya Lennon;

•Emer Higgins, Fine Gael TD; and

•Senator Fiona O’Loughlin.

Commenting ahead of the seminar, Emma DeSouza, Women in Leadership Coordinator at the National Women’s Council said: “While progress has been made, women in Ireland are still substantially underrepresented in senior roles and decision-making spaces. The pace of change is too slow, and if we are to make real the concept of equality for this generation substantive changes are required.

“The NWC has consistently called for gender quotas to increase the representation of women across all sectors of society.

Quotas redistribute power at the top of the labour market, resulting in significant trickle-down benefits, both in terms of improving financial performance but also for women at all levels in a company.

“We are looking forward to hearing from our Norwegian colleagues on how the introduction of gender quotas in their country has accelerated change across corporate boards to ensure that they are a better representation of society as a whole, incorporate more diverse perspectives and life experiences, and – in turn – have led to greater innovation, higher productivity, and better working conditions.”


Advance registration for the seminar is required. Registration is free and now open here>>