Aviva CEO Amanda Blanc on "incredibly disappointing" stories of sexism in the industry

Women in Finance Charter Champion attends evidence session as part of Treasury Committee inquiry

Aviva CEO Amanda Blanc on "incredibly disappointing" stories of sexism in the industry

Diversity & Inclusion

By Terry Gangcuangco

Screengrab from the evidence session streamed by Parliamentlive.tv

Aviva group chief executive and Women in Finance Charter Champion Amanda Blanc (pictured) has described the stories of sexism in financial services as “extremely disappointing” and sad.

Speaking at this week’s oral evidence session as part of the Treasury Committee’s ‘Sexism in the City’ inquiry, Blanc said: “I put out a LinkedIn post about two weeks ago, saying that I was going to come to the inquiry. And I have been inundated with hundreds and hundreds of private messages from women who have had, I have to say, predominantly poor experiences.

“I think that’s incredibly disappointing and incredibly sad, actually. Some of the stories were absolutely appalling – around unwanted advances; when people announce that they’re pregnant, people are saying things like, ‘Well, that’s a bit inconvenient, isn’t it?’; being followed to hotel rooms, and things like that.”

Blanc, who was joined by Bain & Company financial services partner Nishma Gosrani OBE during the session, declared that “we do need to act” to avoid the common scenario of an aggrieved party leaving an organisation instead of the one at fault.

“Every individual firm has to be accountable for any allegations, and the women in the firm have to know that there is a process for speaking up; that that process will be acted on; that everything will be investigated; and that the actual person that did the bad will leave the organisation, not the women,” she told the Treasury Committee.

“And we have had experiences like that at Aviva where the woman has stayed and the man has gone. I do genuinely believe that it is about firms really making sure that they do behave appropriately and taking accountability, as well as then being backed up by regulation and various other things, which I would agree definitely has a role to play here.”

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