30% Club Ireland unveils 30 scholarships for women

A programme of 30 postgrad and executive education scholarships for women have been developed by 30% Club Ireland.

The 30% Club, whose aim is to achieve better gender balance at all levels in leading Irish businesses, is partnering with a range of education providers to provide this programme.

The scholarships were announced as part of its efforts to bring about better gender balance within teams and boards of Irish organisations.

“Women make up more than 53pc of the students graduating from third level education in Ireland, with a quarter of those female students studying business, administration or law. Yet the numbers of women moving on to postgraduate and executive education is dramatically lower”

The scholarships will be in a range of executive education disciplines including prestigious MBA programmes and technical Master’s programmes in STEM, Healthcare, Public Policy and other specialist areas.

Balanced investment in talent and career progression

“International Women’s Day takes place on 8 March,” explained Gillian Harford, country executive with the 30% Club.

“But it is about more than celebrating just one day, it is about taking real and practical steps that will help to bring about more balanced investment in talent and career progression.

“Having offered just three scholarships in year one, we are delighted now to be offering 30 scholarships for 2020.

“In addition to providing great opportunities for talented women, the programme allows gives us and our education partners to encourage more diversity in executive classrooms.”

The scholarship programme has been in place since 2015.  It aims to raise participation rates for women in, and general awareness of, executive education and to provide financial support for women interested in executive education, who may be limited by funding concerns.  

The programme will be promoted directly within the 260 member organisations of the 30% Club and through social media on Twitter and LinkedIn.

“Women make up more than 53pc of the students graduating from third level education in Ireland, with a quarter of those female students studying business, administration or law. Yet the numbers of women moving on to postgraduate and executive education is dramatically lower.

“Executive education is a strong enabler of senior career progression, so the under-representation of women can be a strong contributing factor to the slow progress in achieving better gender balance of talent at senior teams and boards of Irish organisations.”

Research into 350 organisations by the 30% Club published last month revealed that while in 2015 just 16pc of organisations surveyed had a formal diversity and inclusion policy in place, now 46pc have such a policy.

Some 90pc of Irish organisations now have supporting gender diversity initiatives in place, according to the 30% Club.

However, despite the progress, the setting of gender targets is still rare and was evidenced by less than 20pc of respondents, but there is progress in the use of measurement to track better balance within recruitment, performance and salary processes.

Written by John Kennedy (john.kennedy3@boi.com)

Published: 28 February, 2020