Today marks International Women’s Day 2018. Over the past couple of years we’ve used this day as an opportunity to showcase the incredible female talent we have within our business. As this year also marks the 100th anniversary of the woman’s right to vote, what better subject matter to discuss than gender diversity. Specifically that within the insurance sector.
Rewind 100 years and 1918 saw Parliament pass an historic Act which granted women over the age of 30 the right to vote. At the time this was inconceivable and naturally there were restrictions on which females were allowed to vote; namely women who were householders or wives of householders, occupiers of property with an annual rent of £5 and graduates of British universities. This Act was monumental in history and offered around 8.4 million women the independence to vote.
Fast forward to 2018 and the suffragette movement remains one of great British pride. Whilst women in the United Kingdom have freedom of speech, it is a well-documented fact that there are still some improvements to be made.
Within the Insurance sector one of the greatest improvements to be made largely surrounds the gender pay gap. Insurance Times are in the process of undertaking research within the market to examine just how large this gap is. So far, their results are…interesting. With a substantial trend suggesting men are predominantly being paid more in both salary and bonus, thus begs the question why are men being paid more? What do they do differently? By addressing answers to these questions we can begin to hone in on the root of the problem.
It’s not all doom and gloom for our female white-collared workers. Research conducted by the ABI showed that 78% of firms have a diversity and inclusion strategy*. It’s fair to suggest that 10 years ago, research of a similar nature would have produced a very different outcome demonstrating an even greater separation. Nowadays, the sector can no longer afford not to be open minded and all inclusive. Above all it makes good business sense. How can you begin to understand your diverse range of customers if there is no variation in the business? Customer feedback will only get you so far.
UK General Insurance is pushing back against these industry expectations. “Gender diversity in insurance is changing and I’m proud to be working for a company that champions individuality and is pioneering inclusion in insurance” comments Nicole Beaumont, Products Assistant at UK General. “I’m just starting out in my career and openly admit, at times I need support. It’s inspiring to work for a business where there is no gender inequality and I’m recognised for my hard work”
Nicole maintains that whatever business, insurance or otherwise, what these women don’t realise is that to many, they are an inspiration. In sharing their experiences, they appeal to those upcoming career-driven young professionals who are working hard to progress in what has commonly been thought of as a male dominated profession.
Whilst women have undoubtedly excelled from where they were a century ago, the insurance sector could still benefit from some improvements. Needless to say, we’ve come a long way and the future looks hopeful.