Just one in nine chief executives (12%) of large enterprises in Ireland in 2019 are women, a new set of figures from the Central Statistics Office show today.

The CSO's first Gender Balance in Business figures give key details on gender representation at the most senior levels in large enterprises - companies with 250 or more employees. 

They reveal that women make up 28% of senior executive roles compared with 72% for men. 

They also show that the vast majority of chairpersons at companies were men -  93% - with women making up the reminding 7%.

And 80% of directors on company's boards are men and 20% are women.  

Companies on the Irish Stock Exchange which are headed up by women include Glanbia (Siobhan Talbot), FBD Holdings (Fiona Muldoon), CPL Resources (Anne Heraty) and Bank of Ireland (Francesca McDonagh).

Ulster Bank also has a female CEO - Jane Howard - while Vodafone Ireland is headed up by Anne O'Leary, Eir's chief exective is Carolan Lennon, Microsoft Ireland is led by Cathriona Hallahan and Bord Gáis Energy's managing director is Catherine O'Kelly. 

The CSO figures show that the construction sector had the lowest representation of women in senior executive jobs - at 9% - while the services sector had the highest female representation in senior posts at 31%. 

Construction also had the lowest representation of women on boards of directors, at 9%. In Services, women accounted for 22% of board membership and in industry 17%.

According to the CSO, there was a higher representation of women in foreign-owned than in Irish-owned enterprises. 

In foreign-owned enterprises, the senior executive team was 31% female and the board 21% female, but this fell to 26% of the senior executive team and 19% of the board in Irish-owned businesses. 

Statistician Gerard Doolan said that 34% of senior executive appointments within the last 12 months were women and 66% were men. Women made up 30% of board appointments within the last year, he said. 

This compares to appointments made five or more years ago, with 25% of senior executive roles given to women and 17% of board appointments.

"It is great to see more statistics coming out from the CSO on the percentages of men women in senior executive positions and on boards on large companies in Ireland," said Helen Wycherley, the President of Network Ireland, an organisation supporting the professional and personal development of women.

"Progress is slow in getting more women into senior positions when comparing the number to five years ago. On a positive note it is increasing."