Sheila McCarthy from AIB, Katherine O’Sullivan, President of Network Ireland West Cork and Marie Wiseman, Vice President of Network Ireland West Cork at Lough Hyne. The group will host its annual Women in Business Awards on 24 June. Photo: Emma Jervis

Survey sought female insights

A recent survey by Network Ireland’s West Cork branch has shown a significant increase in unpaid hours worked by its members.

The survey, which sought to look for women’s insights into business and life over the past 15 months, was carried out ahead of the group’s annual Women in Business awards which takes place this month.

Of those surveyed, 62 per cent said they are working longer unpaid hours now than ever before with almost half saying this is partly due to reduced access to childcare and family supports.

Over two-thirds of the women were recorded as having children or elderly family members to care for, with 69 per cent saying that the level of care has increased since the beginning of the pandemic.

The survey also looked for insights into members’ views on pay equality and representation with 44 per cent agreeing that gender quotas or targets should be set by larger businesses to allow for more female representation on boards.

Less than one-third of members surveyed felt there is a pay gap in their place of work, while 60 per cent said that it would be a welcome development for businesses to conduct pay equity audits to ensure parity.

Commenting on the survey, Katherine O’Sullivan, President of Network Ireland West Cork said it is vital to know the needs of its members whose burdens have increased greatly in recent times.

“Being in business means that we often have to take on the role of many, particularly for our self-employed members who are well used to juggling roles. By coming together, we can work to bring about change and have our voices heard while also celebrating each other’s achievements,” she said.

This year’s Women in Business awards will see eight women achieve awards from a shortlist of 24 nominees across eight categories.

The categories are: Solo Businesswoman; Emerging New Business; Established Business; Employee – Rising Star; Employee – Shining Star; Creative Professional; STEM; and Power Within Champion.

“We look forward to awarding these special women in business at our virtual event after what has been an emotional and physical rollercoaster for so many. However, as well as challenges there has also been great progress for our members and this is why it is important to mark these achievements,” said Ms O’Sullivan.

The Network Ireland’s Women in Business 2021 awards will take place online on 24 June.