Life Insurance  

CII first UK professional body to make gender equality push

CII first UK professional body to make gender equality push

UK insurance professionals have signed up to the UN Women’s global gender equality initiative, making insurance the first British profession to do so.

The global He For She initiative aims to provide an inclusive platform for men and women to speak out for gender equality and acknowledge the ways society benefits from this.

At an event in London today (5 September), the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) and the Insurance Institute of London brought together a range of sector leaders and executives who publicly committed to make gender equality – and diversity in all its forms – a reality for insurance.

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Laura Haynes, chairman of the UN Women’s National Committee (UK), said while individual business leaders across the globe have made personal pledges to improve women’s issues, this is the first time a whole profession has stepped up to the plate.

She told attendees at the event, held in The Old Library at Lloyd’s: “Having one industry, as one voice, pledging to make a difference, is the first for this campaign.

“But He For She is not a women’s issue - it’s an issue for everyone.

“It’s a global issue, a social issue, a political issue and an economic issue. The economic empowerment of women leads to developing economies, better economic stability, improvments to children’s education, social stability and less conflict”, she said. “It’s about the whole of global society.”

The campaign is part of the CII-led Insuring Women’s Futures programme (IWF), which seeks to better understand the risks women face, and how to better respond to them.

IWF aims to improve the lives of women who are at risk, develop new forms of protection to address women’s needs and preferences as buyers of insurance, and help create a better gender balance within the insurance profession.

Sian Fisher, chief executive of the CII and chairman of the IWF committee, said the insurance profession “is committed to driving change” despite the sector having been traditionally male dominated.

She added: “Women are demonstrably less likely than men to protect themselves through insurance and financial planning.

“Recognising this, the insurance profession has taken a stand today to recognise that this is not a ‘gender’ issue. It is a risk for society and our male as well as female colleagues are showing their commitment to tackling it.”

The event marked the start of a year-long CII He For She initiative.

At the event, Huw Evans, director general of the Association of British Insurers (ABI), made two pledges.

He said: “The ABI knows there is a huge problem in attracting women into our profession. Insurance ranks just 18th out 30 industries in terms of attractiveness for young people and we are aware the proportion of women in the boardooms of insurers is lower than in any other part of financial services.