Meera Joshi

12th March 2021

Coming to the end of international women’s week I have been reflecting on the progress we have made in creating true gender equality and the work that still needs to be done.

Why is diversity important?

  1. Diverse companies are more innovative
  2. Employees are more attracted to diverse companies and factor this into their search
  3. Diversity helps the bottom line (I will share a stat with you later in the blog)

Where are we now?

Based on the results from the Hampton-Alexander review and the conversation’s I had with Matthew and Claire-Marie, we have made much progress in increasing the number of women joining a business however we are still quite far away from having equality in gender across senior leadership positions.

Companies are bottom heavy with female roles and the further up the management levels you go to lower number of women you find due to a number of different factors:

  • Women taking time out to raise a family
  • Women working in an environment where they do not feel comfortable speaking up and imposter syndrome takes over
  • Women provided feedback in annual reviews that is vague and non-actionable, thus giving them little guidance on how they can progress
  • Women not having enough sponsors or the right mentors to support their development

Creating a D&I plan

Step 1: Collect the data so that you can measure and benchmark the current state of your workplace and create a targeted plan based on the gaps found

Step 2: Identify areas of concern and create a plan to overcome this. Do you need to change your recruitment process to take out bias? Or do you need to train your leaders on creating an inclusive work culture? By using the data collated you can start creating a true plan to make a change

Step 3: Create and implement diversity training. No matter the change you are making there will be training that will need to take place to ensure the benefits and process are understood. Unconscious bias plays a huge part in our choices and by bringing this awareness to the foremind we can start to take away some of the bias and create a fair and open process.

Step 4: Create accountability. As Matthew Waters mentioned in Blog 3, “D&I is driven from the top down - diverse boards make diverse decisions, and so on.” The success of D&I from an accountability perspective lies with senior executives so it is important that they can articulate their plans and inspire their leaders to make the changes.

Step 5: Track the impact. Keep track of the data and results and follow the trends to see where improvements are happening and where the gaps remain. Communicate this regularly with the business to ensure the message is continued and everyone is on the same page. You may find soft targets may help to create momentum but always keep in mind the idea of this is to create true diversity not tip the scales the other way completely.

In Summary

While progress has been made, women are still severely underrepresented in insurance leadership roles. Insurance companies need to work for greater diversity in succession planning and prepare women for these roles.

Stock exchange companies with women making up at least a third of executive roles have a profit margin of 15.2%. The number is more than 10 times greater than the 1.5% profit margin for firms with no women on their executive committees."

I leave you with these figures in case you are wondering why diversity in the boardroom is important.


What are you doing to be part of this change?