Blog » IoD to award over £40k to support female leaders

IoD to award over £40k to support female leaders

18th April 2024

THE Institute of Directors in Northern Ireland (IoD NI) has announced a new bursary scheme to support five female leaders to complete professional qualifications.

Worth over £40,000, the scholarship fund will enable five women to complete either the IoD Role of the Non-Executive Director course or the Bachelors level IoD Certificate in Company Direction qualification.

The new fund was announced at the annual IoD NI’s Women’s Leadership Conference, held to mark International Women’s Day in Belfast’s Crowne Plaza Hotel. The sold-out event was attended by more than 500 delegates from across Northern Ireland and hosted by ‘The Positive Economist’, Susan Hayes Culleton.

The IoD’s National Director for Northern Ireland, Kirsty McManus, who made the announcement, said it was part of the IoD’s remit to push for a greater gender balance at board and executive level.

She said: “Increasing the representation of women on boards and leadership teams isn’t just important in terms of providing greater opportunities for female leaders but it also makes better business sense. Firms that are the most gender-balanced also tend to perform better overall so we are prepared to play our part to help local businesses here capitalise on this diversity dividend.

“We are offering five scholarships to female directors in Northern Ireland with at least two years’ experience of director service in the private, public, voluntary or community sector to complete one of two IoD qualifications aimed at preparing professionals to take on a board or leadership position.”

Kirsty added: “It was particularly important to make this announcement at our annual Women’s Leadership Conference infront of a packed audience of exceptional female business leaders who are exactly who we want to see taking up these positions and hope this scheme will create a smoother pathway to make this happen.”

This year’s Women’s Leadership Conference was headlined by presenter, author and activist, Mariella Frostrup who gave the room insight on the need to carve a “woman-shaped space” to move beyond an economic model which was still largely predicated on 52% of the available workforce staying at home. Mariella urged the audience to just “keep going” and in her usual humorous style, Mariella also urged delegates to show less gratitude and more rage.

Other speakers on the day included internationally renowned chef Danni Barry, Booker prize winning author, Anna Burns, and Irish navy captain Sinead Gleeson who all spoke about their own experiences of leadership in male-dominated environments.

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