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Promoting gender equality

The ABI is committed to promoting gender equality at all levels within the insurance industry.

In July 2016, the Association of British Insurers signed up to the Women in Finance Charter as part of its commitment to promote gender equality in the industry. The Women in Finance Charter is a joint effort between HM Treasury and signatories to work together to encourage gender balance across financial services.

Women in finance charter commitments 

As a signatory of the Women in Finance Charter, the Association of British Insurers pledges to achieve at least a 45% / 55% female to male gender split across management positions by 30 June 2019.

The following supplementary targets have been set to support the achievement of this goal by 30 June 2019:

  1. The ABI aims to maintain a rate of internal promotion into management positions that is over 50%.
  2. The ABI will request a 50%/50% gender diversity split in long lists provided by recruitment agencies during management recruitment processes.
  3. The ABI aims for at least 50% of staff to return from periods of maternity leave / shared parental leave, and flexible working requests will be considered in line with best practice.
  4. Equal opportunities for training and development are provided to both male and female members of staff.

Louise Hanson, Director of Advocacy, has been appointed as the Executive responsible and accountable for gender diversity and inclusion:

“We’ve really stepped up our support for better diversity and inclusion in the industry this year and it is refreshing to see businesses take the issues seriously beyond a ‘nice to have’. I am proud to be the ABI Executive responsible for gender diversity and inclusion under the Women in Finance Charter.”

The ABI has also supported the Insurance HeForShe campaign for gender parity with Huw Evans making a personal commitment to mentor two women at different stages of their careers.

Huw Evans’ pledge:

"Use my role at the heart of the industry to continue the ABI’s commitment to provide programmes for young talent and future leaders that support and drive forward diversity. I also commit to personally mentor two women from these programmes, focusing on women who have either returned to work following maternity leave or who are from a background under-represented in insurance. 

I hope by mentoring I can encourage them, give them some tips and help them with resilience when things are difficult. But I am also looking forward to learning from them, to broadening my own middle-aged male horizons and to get more clues as to what else we can do. None of us can conquer the world’s problems single-handed. But we can all do something. And that’s why I am making my pledge today."

To mark International Women’s Day on 8 March, ABI Director General Huw Evans further added his thoughts on why the insurance and long-term savings industry must #BeBoldForChange:

Huw Evans said:

“International Women’s Day and its focus this year on women in work offers us an important opportunity to take stock of how we are all doing to improve support for women in the workplace. We can use the day to recommit to doing better and be bolder with our actions. This will help us move towards a future where International Women’s Day is no longer necessary, because we have gender balance and equal pay across all major industries. 

"The financial services sector as a whole needs to get better. We know the insurance industry has some specific challenges where representation of women on boards and at senior executive leadership is currently just not good enough. 

"As the industry trade body, we are playing our part and can see the vital importance of achieving gender equality within the insurance and long-term savings industry. If we are going to serve the economy and represent the millions of customers that rely on us, we need the best talent working within our industry. We simply can’t be at our best as an industry if half the population is not fully represented in leadership positions and across the workforce.”

 

The ABI Executive Team show their support for #IWD2017

 

Speaking to the Women in Finance Summit held by City & Financial, Huw said:

“We need more doing and less patting ourselves on the back for signing a charter we wouldn’t need if we did better.

“Change needs to start from the top, it won’t happen organically from the bottom. More senior leaders need to send permission signals about having a more balanced and rounded life.

“We need a bit more urgency as research suggests that, at the current rate, we may only have gender parity by 2095!”

You can read more from Huw on why diversity is so critical to the sector here.

 

Prime Minister Theresa May speaking at the ABI sponsored Women2Win reception in 2016.