Removing the Barriers to Gender Equality

The call to action for business leaders, innovators, social entrepreneurs and gender equality activists is to remove barriers that prevent gender equality for girls and women.

In 2019 women in leadership roles continue to be notable for being the exception not the rule.  With International Women’s Day on March 8th, I set out the case for change in a three part blog. I share with you the findings of my research and work into the various barriers that hinder the advancement of girls and women in leadership and how we all have a role to play.


Part One

‘Removing the Barriers to Gender Equality’ – Business Leaders & Innovators Role


Businesses have long had clear evidence as to why improved diversity and gender balance makes good commercial sense. Companies with proportionally more female leaders have higher profitability, better debt structures and above average growth rates with better return on investment. Additionally, there is a correlation between companies with more diverse leadership teams and performance dimensions such as innovation, creativity, collaboration and accountability together with diversity of perspective.

Whilst it is generally acknowledged that women are under-represented in senior leadership positions there tends to be less of a discussion about the underlying challenges that women in or aspiring to leadership roles face.

Amongst the challenges are:

  • gendered stereotype roles
  • male-dominated management structures and
  • lack of access to key strategic networks


In my work and research, including interviews with a range of women in senior roles in Ireland, one of the effects of these structural challenges is that  women have found they also must work harder than their male counterparts to gain access to senior roles.

In Part Two of my Blog Series ‘Removing the Barriers to Gender Equality’, I will discuss the concept a gender bias feedback loop and how this can impact female progression in organisations.


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