Gender balance brings innovation and better productivity

Companies will become more innovative and staff will become more productive as a result of business owners addressing the gender balance issue in the workplace.

Workplaces that embrace gender diversity are more likely to benefit from employees being more productive and innovative, according to Orlaith Lawler, site director of Clare-based biomedical device maker Beckman Coulter, where more than half of the company’s managers are female.

Founded more than 80 years ago, Beckman Coulter helps healthcare and laboratory professionals provide better patient care by delivering accurate diagnostic information.

The Tulla-based company, which employs 420 people, is one of the biggest employers in the Mid-West.

“We are proud to be involved in work that impacts very positively on women’s health”

With International Women’s Day 2020 approaching on March 8, the company is continuing to develop its links with local schools to inspire more female scientists as well as recruiting more women scientists, technicians and engineers than ever before.

Gender inequality has long been a major issue in workplaces around the world. Globally, the average gender pay gap is 17 per cent (pc), and it ranges from 3pc to 51pc. And in recent years, women’s participation in the workforce has dropped drastically to below 50pc — for reference, their participation was above 80pc in 2010.

However, if the global workforce became equally gender-diverse, the global GDP could increase by $28 trillion. While at company level, firms with an equally split workforce between men and women could increase revenue by as much as 41pc.

“We need to show the generation following us, both male and female, that the current situation is just not good enough even though we have come so far”

Most worryingly, out of all the Fortune 500 CEOs, only four per cent of company CEOs are female, whereas roughly 10pc of Fortune 500 CEOs are named either David or John.

The theme of International Women’s Day (IWD) this year is #EachForEqual, a global campaign to empower women and girls, promote gender-balanced workplaces, boardrooms, governments, sports and media coverage and female/male equality in daily life.

Beckman Coulter’s Orlaith Lawler says equality is not just an issue for women, it’s an issue for businesses everywhere. “We are proud to be involved in work that impacts very positively on women’s health – and which empowers women. As a site, we are also very proud of our current gender diversity,” she said.

“We currently have a 48pc female and 52pc male split which strengthens through to middle level management with 53pc of our managers being female. One of the Core Values within Beckman Coulter is that the best team wins – and we really believe that gender balance support this. Ensuring we have strong female representation, means that as part of our overall diversity and inclusion program, we are more productive, more innovative, more engaged and are a better team as a result.

“I think it is very important that we highlight and support International Women’s Day. We need to show the generation following us, both male and female, that the current situation is just not good enough even though we have come so far. There is still so much that needs to be done. Women still receive on average 30-40pc less pay for the same work, are more likely to be among the world’s absolute poor.”

IWD is a global initiative that takes place in Sunday March 8th, but millions of workplaces will celebrate the day this Friday (March 6th).

Photo: Eamon Ward

Pictured from left to right: Claire Murray, Research & Development Scientist; Angela Keogh, senior manager Global Product Management; Eileen Downes, supervisor Regulatory Affairs; Orlaith Lawler, senior director, Beckman Coulter Ireland Inc; Michelle McDonnell, supervisor Manufacturing Science VA; Denise Addie, senior project manager in Operations and Aideen McNamara, technician production Operations.

By Stephen Larkin

Published: 5 March, 2020