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Credit Unions mark the significant role of women in the sector on International Women’s Day

Posted on: 08 Mar 2024

  • 46% of CEOs of credit unions affiliated to the Irish League of Credit Unions are female 

  • 43% of Board Members of ILCU affiliated CUs are female 

The Irish League of Credit Unions celebrates International Women’s Day (Friday 8th of March 2024) highlighting their prominent leadership role across the credit union sector. 

Today 46% of CEOs of credit unions affiliated to the Irish League of Credit Unions on the island of Ireland are female. This is in comparison to 17% of CEO appointments between 2020 and 2022 of banks supervised across the Eurozone by the European Central Bank.  In addition, 43% of Board members of credit unions affiliated to the ILCU are female. 

Credit unions across the island of Ireland are open for lending and are driven by being member focussed, not for profit, providing low-cost financial products in community-based institutions.  

Credit unions were first established in Ireland in 1958. This would not have been possible without the pioneering work and vision of many women, including Nora Herlihy. Nora’s contribution to the movement is admirable, especially given the societal expectations of women at that time. Among her many achievements throughout the development of the movement, one most notable effort is her contribution to developing the first specific piece credit union legislation in 1966. This vision, innovation and desire to provide ethnical financial products, to tackle financial exclusion and help people improve their lives is at the heart of what credit unions do.  

David Malone CEO of the Irish League of Credit Unions stated “Credit unions in Ireland wouldn’t exist without pioneering women who saw a better more inclusive way to bring ethical, not for profit financial access to those financially excluded. These women were the original disruptors and we celebrate and acknowledge their vision. We are fortunate to have highly skilled staff and volunteers who are female working in and for credit unions across the island of Ireland. We thank them for their work and their dedication to their members.” 

According to Alice Grant, Head of Brand and Member Experience with the ILCU: "I feel privileged to work in a sector where 46% of credit union CEO leaders and 43% board members are female. What strikes me about our sector is that there is an enormous level of ‘can-do’ attitude and energy. On a daily basis I see examples of where credit unions have made a difference to their members lives".

The Irish League of Credit Unions is a signatory to the Women in Finance charter.  Ireland’s Women in Finance Charter is an industry-led initiative supported by the Government of Ireland, which underpins the financial services industry’s ambition to see increased participation of women at all levels, including junior, middle and senior management, leadership and board roles within financial services organisations based in Ireland. The Irish League of Credit Unions has an ambition to optimise gender balance at all levels of the organisation.