10 years of promotion produces regression

A decade long drive to increase the number of women serving on, and chairing, public bodies in Northern Ireland has ended in failure. The percentage of women on boards has dropped from 35% to 32% and the number of female chairpersons has dropped from 28% to 25%.

  • Surely that one third of women in charge of public bodies is actually Briege Gadd?

    (sorry, couldn’t resist 🙂 )

    P.S. The boss of the Northern Ireland Transport Holding Company is a woman. Go figure.

  • Miss Fitz

    Find it fascinating that the question is asked ‘why are women not on these Boards’

    In my experience, its quite simple. We are not appointed.

    I have applied to several public bodies for appointment, and have a reasonably good background, both academically and employment-wise. I have failed on every occasion to gain an appointment, or even an interview. I have no doubt that lack of political activity and connection plays a major part in this, but I refuse to engage in redundant political mechanisms for the sake of it.

    I think a little more transparency and a little less funny hand shaking among the big boys would go a long way.

  • wild turkey


    sorry to be a bit pedantic but back to o-level economics.

    the figures cited refer to the stock of board members and chairs, of which on the surface women do appear to be under-represented.

    however the real issue is the flow in and out board and chair positions. The real question is what percentage of the applicant pool for board and chair positions is made up of women. For example if women compromise approx 30% of applicants than they are, given the figures, fairly represented and the issue then becomes how to increase female representation in the applicant pool, ie encourage more women to apply for these posts.

    If however, women say make up 50% of applicants than there may, emphasis may, be a problem with recruitment and selection procedures.

    Given the figures cited it is difficult/impossible to say what the underlying issue really.

    enjoy your website and am usually in agreement with your points and observations…. but

    ‘The chair of NITHC is a woman.’
    C,mon So what?
    Are you trying to say that simply by virtue of gender a guy would be doing a better a job?

    doubt it.

  • fair_deal


    “The real question is what percentage of the applicant pool for board and chair positions is made up of women.”

    I checked the OCPANI Annual Report, it does not provide the applicant stats only appointment stats and the comparable appointment stats for GB as a whole and Scotland individually.

  • Greenflag

    Just more evidence that the women of NI are smarter than the men:)

  • Rubicon

    Wild Turkey – good points. The applicant figures are needed before any judgement can be made – but a lot more too. The aggregation of competition results across boards can be VERY misleading too – even with the applicant figures.

    Eg, say there are 10 board posts and 3 concerning issues that attract a high proportion of women applicants – say, children, victims etc. and say the other 7 posts require industrial and/or security experience and attract higher proportions of men. In each of the 10 competitions the successful candidate is of the sex from the larger applicant pool – but the 2 sexes will have widely different success rates. Yet – nothing untoward has happened.

    The phenomenon is known as “Simpson’s Paradox”. It is for this reason tribunals are used to assess fairness and not statistics alone.