To mark International Women’s Day on 8 March, ABI Director General Huw Evans 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.”
You can view Huw’s Statement of Support on the International Women’s Day website here.
The industry is changing fast to meet the needs of a rapidly evolving world and to do that it needs the brightest and best talent to succeed commercially. Huw has signed up to a HeForShe pledge and the ABI is joining leading insurers by setting its own targets under the Women in Finance Charter.
The ABI has also strengthened its committment to LGBT+ inclusion by partnering with OUTstanding, a global professional network. You can find out more about how the ABI will be working with OUTstanding here.
In January, Huw also took part in two events focused on employment in insurance.
Addressing the IICF Leading Across Generations conference, Huw called on the industry to improve its perception among millennials and consider how it can act on getting better at creating the more inclusive workplaces the next generation of talent will demand.
Huw Evans said:
“We need to consider how we as an industry can be fit for the future. The insurance industry is forward looking and has survived for the last 350 years as it is able to respond to change.
“We need to walk the walk and not just talk the talk to change perceptions of our industry for the next generation of talent. Leaders have to listen more as listening and acting on it can make a difference. The most important thing we can do is sometimes the small things that make a difference – it doesn’t always have to be a big and public initiative. Our ability to shape our reputation with customers and future and current employees lies in how we behave and adapt.”
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 about Huw’s views on why diversity is so critical to the sector here.