It’s a grey morning in London, and the wind is chilly enough that workers hurrying into office blocks are clutching their coats closer to their bodies.
Inside the historic Guildhall however, it’s warm. Not just the temperature, but the atmosphere too. It’s the Women in Finance Charter event - a full house, with people crowded around, sitting on steps at the side and standing at the back of the room. Everyone seems enthralled, taking notes and nodding in agreement on different points.
To put it simply – no-one is here just for the food.
The audience is skewed towards women, but there are men in attendance too - paying just as much attention to the speakers.
Economic Secretary to the Treasury, John Glen, gives the opening remarks, before the highlights of the report on the charter are announced.
The HM Treasury Women in Finance Charter has more than 330 signatories, covering 800,000 employees, all pledging to improve the number of women in their senior ranks.
Of the now over 330 companies that have signed on, 123 were part of the original pledge in September 2017. They set goals for improving the numbers of women in senior management and reported back to HM Treasury in September and October 2018. Of those 123 signatories, 45% have met or exceeded their original targets, with 42% stating they were on track to meet theirs.
Some of the most ambitious targets came from within the insurance industry. The Association for British Insurers has a target of 45% with a deadline for the end of 2019. Insurance giant Aviva, meanwhile, has set a goal of 30% of women in senior management positions by 2019.
It’s not just good news when it comes to singular insurance companies and their targets either. The report shows that the industry was top ranked when it came to increasing female executives in companies.
In total, 20 insurance companies are original signatories to the charter, and of those 15 increased the number of women in executive roles from September 2017 to September 2018, while one company maintained the same number.
Unfortunately, while insurance is increasing its numbers of women in these roles, it still has a way to go to catch up with other industries.
Currently 33% of senior management roles in the insurance industry are held by women, according to the Women in Finance Charter. This is compared to building society or credit unions, where 53% of roles are held by women, or in government/trade bodies where 51% are held by women.
It is, according to Economic Secretary of the Treasury John Glen, not enough.
“We need to recommit ourselves to go further and faster,” Glen said. “To be candid the progress so far has been modest, and we have a long way to go.”