Three women stand in conversation in a softly lit hallway with artwork hanging on the walls.
From left: Jean O’Sullivan and Julie Sinnamon from Enterprise Ireland, and Sandra Healy from DCU’s Centre of Excellence. Image: Maxwell Photography

Public sector women’s leadership development programme open for applications

22 Jan 2020

The 2020 Leadership Development Programme for Women comes following Enterprise Ireland’s commitment to closing the gender gap.

Enterprise Ireland has teamed up with the Dublin City University (DCU) Centre of Excellence for Diversity and Inclusion to launch a new leadership programme for women.

The programme aims to support women in Ireland in their pursuit of leadership and senior management roles in business, and has been developed by Dr Melrona Kirrane, associate professor of organisational psychology at DCU Business School.

Kirrane designed the Leadership Development Programme for Women to respond to the current and future needs of aspiring women leaders, and it follows hot on the heels of the launch of Enterprise Ireland’s 2020 Action Plan for Women in Business.

This Action Plan comprises four main objectives, each with six associated actions, one of which is to issue a grant to support the recruitment of part-time senior managers. While not limited to women, it is believed this grant will encourage more women capable of senior roles back into the workplace.

“We firmly believe that increasing diversity and narrowing the gap between women and men in entrepreneurship, leadership, middle and senior management roles will lead to increased economic growth in Ireland,” said Enterprise Ireland CEO Julie Sinnamon.

A group of 12 women standing together, all dressed in business attire.

Participants from the pilot Leadership Development Programme for Women. Image: Maxwell Photography

The Centre of Excellence for Diversity and Inclusion was established to provide organisations with access to the latest developments in academic research, as well as the necessary insights and tools to help drive change in these areas.

“DCU’s collaboration with Enterprise Ireland on this programme is a great example of how we can shift the dial on gender balance by working together,” said Sandra Healy, head of equality, diversity and inclusion at the centre.

“In particular, the programme provides a relevant and inspiring approach to leadership development for women.”

A pilot Leadership Development Programme for Women was conducted in 2019. This involved 15 women working in semi-State bodies, who each received certification this month.

“Having seen and heard about the experiences of those graduating from the pilot programme, it gives great hope for what will be achieved over the next year,” said Sinnamon.

Applications are now open to women working in the public sector for the 2020 Leadership Development Programme for Women, which will commence on 21 April 2020. Further information is available by contacting Sarita Johnston via

Elaine Burke
By Elaine Burke

Elaine Burke was editor of Silicon Republic until 2023, and is now the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. Elaine joined Silicon Republic in 2011 as a journalist covering gadgets, new media and tech jobs. She later served as managing editor before stepping up as editor in 2019. She comes from a background in publishing and is known for being particularly pernickety when it comes to spelling and grammar – earning her the nickname, Critical Red Pen.

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