Keeping Diversity on the agenda in Parliament

In the final full week of this most unusual parliamentary session, the ABI Public Affairs team have been working to utilise every opportunity for engagement before parliament enters campaign mode.

Director and General Counsel, Philippa Handyside, took part in two All Party Parliamentary Group discussions on Monday afternoon to highlight the ABI and industry initiatives to increase diversity and inclusion in the sector. First up was the Women and Work APPG, which the ABI are proud sponsors, where Philippa joined Co-Chair Jess Philips MP and Gillian Keegan MP and David Lammy MP to discuss the role of “Allies and Advocates” in promoting and campaigning for diverse workforces. Also represented on the panel were Chair of the American Express Diversity Council Louise Johnston and Ez Duggleby, of Stonewall’s Diversity Champions Programme.

The discussion centred on how advocates and visible allies can induce positive change to make workforces more inclusive, and how these can be encouraged by employers through supporting networks and creating inclusive HR and talent programmes. Philippa highlighted the work of the ABI in convening CEOs across the sector for high-level discussions and exploration of key diversity agendas including gender, family and caring responsibilities and BAME representation. In particular, she highlighted our parental leave transparency initiative, which is the first of its kind and saw 21 member firms in the first wave, commit to transparency in parental leave and pay arrangements in order to attract and retain diverse talent pools. The session builds on the APPGs annual inquiry, the theme of which this year is “Inclusivity and Intersectionality”. The report was due to be published in December but will be delayed as a result of the General Election. We will continue to work with the APPG in the new session as a sponsor to promote and support these vital agendas.

Following this, we duly moved further along the Committee corridor for the Insurance and Financial Services APPG, chaired by Craig Tracey MP and Lord Hunt of the Wirral for a discussion on linking diversity to conduct and behaviour in the insurance sector. Philippa was her joined by Dame Inga Beale and Sian Fisher, CEO of the CII. The panel discussed ongoing work to increase inclusion in the Lloyd’s market, both during Inga’s time at the helm and beyond, as well as the vital to increase diversity not just in the workforce but in the products and services offered by the sector, in particular highlighting the work and forthcoming launch of the Insuring Women’s futures project, in which Dr Yvonne Braun has played a leading role on 19 November (add link). Here, Philippa highlighted some of the shared and differing challenges facing the industry beyond the Lloyd’s market, our ongoing workstreams and our project to develop a game-changing job-share portal to promote and foster more inclusive working practices across the sector. She also highlighted how the ABI is note just “talking the talk”, but taking these agendas to heart in the way our own organisation runs with our commitment to the Women In Finance Charter, Gender Pay Gap Reporting, Disability Confidence pledge and our inclusive hiring practises and internship schemes.

Huw with women 2 win chairAll of this invaluable engagement with parliamentarians and key stakeholders builds on our commitment to highlight and support diversity and inclusivity agendas in the industry but also in Westminster despite the highly challenging political environment. Over this year we have also worked with the Conservative campaign to elect more female candidates, Women 2 Win with whom we hosted a very successful reception attended by the Prime Minister at Party Conference earlier in the month as well as their summer reception and supported the Fabian’s Women’s Network, which provides mentoring and training to females in politics. All of this comes alongside regular engagement with parliamentarians and officials to promote our work and research in this space as well as the examples of best practise from across the membership – which we will continue to do as we look to the election trail and beyond!



Huw Evans with Women 2 Win Chair, Baroness Jenkin,

Dr Caroline Johnson MP and Women 2 Win, Director Virginia Crosbie


Read more

IWF launch

Appg on women and work

Diversity Hub

Women 2 Win

Fabian Womens network

Last updated 01/11/2019