The Canadian government’s federal budget was released on February 27, and, among chapters on the outlook for economic growth and fiscal projections was one devoted to gender equality.
In it, the Liberals introduced the Gender Results Framework, a tracking tool to measure how Canada is performing and moving forward on equality. Some of the goals under the framework included a reduced gender wage gap, better gender balance across occupations, and more women in senior management positions.
Those goals seem especially relevant to the insurance industry, where women continue to be underrepresented in senior roles. Vinita Jajware, president of the Toronto Insurance Women’s Association (TIWA) and a speaker at the upcoming Women in Insurance event, said that there has been progress as Canadian women choose insurance as a career path.
“From my experiences, there has certainly been an increase in the number of women entering the insurance industry,” she explained. “The Insurance Institute of Canada’s most recent demographic study from 2012 found that the overall industry level of employment for women was approximately 62% in Canada. I expect this figure will increase or at least be sustained when the next study is released this fall.”
That doesn’t mean there isn’t work to be done. The lack of women in senior roles is an area where the ample participation of women has yet to translate into an increase in female executives, said Jajware. Insurers may not need to look further than their peers for guidance on how to encourage women to rise to the top.
“Many insurance carriers have been proactive in this regard and have ensured that both diversity and inclusion remain at the forefront of their organizational strategy,” said Jajware. “Several insurance carriers have developed ‘Women in Ally’ groups, along with others targeting underrepresented segments, as a commitment to providing employees with access to the resources, mentorship, and networking needed to further this objective.”
Better recognition of life events unique to women, such as having children, initiatives that encourage people to return to the workforce afterwards, and mentorship programs that pair women with someone who supports them in their career are a few ways the TIWA president recommends companies move forward.
As for the budget, Jajware said she’s encouraged to see that its recommendations are being championed across many insurance carriers already.
“Bringing this framework to the public sphere can only further the acceptance and implementation of its initiatives across all insurance organizations,” she remarked. “The hope is that this will lead to the enhancement of the employment experience for not just women, but the workforce as a whole.”
Vinita Jajware will be discussing the future for women leaders in insurance at the Women in Insurance event being held on May 15, 2018. Click here for more details and to register.