The Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation (IICF) revealed that 72 percent of women in insurance believe their industry is making progress to achieve gender equality. For the second year in a row, more than two-thirds (68 percent) of women stated that their company is working to promote gender diversity.
The survey was conducted on June 18 at the Women in Insurance Global Conference, a multi-day event hosted by IICF at the Sheraton Times Square in New York City. The survey, which was being conducted for the second straight year, measured the impressions of over 300 respondents, all of whom were conference attendees.
Additional key findings from the survey included:
- When asked what the greatest challenge women face in ascending to leadership, 39 percent of respondents cited limited opportunities for upward mobility within their company.
- Another 30 percent of respondents stated that the greatest challenge is women not promoting themselves effectively.
- 37 percent of respondents believe that the industry’s biggest improvement toward gender diversity is seen via shifts in corporate culture. The benefit of networking opportunities were seen as well, with 24 percent of respondents naming this the most important step toward establishing gender diversity (up from just 9 percent last year).
External barriers still exist for women who seek leadership positions in their company. However, the percentage of women who named “biases in advancement” and “lack of opportunities for professional advancement” as the chief barriers fell to 68 percent, from 76 percent in 2014. This suggests that businesses in the industry are seeing the value that can come from a diverse leadership group.
“As evidenced by the tremendous turnout of the 2015 Women in Insurance Global Conference and the engaging discussions it created, companies are clearly recognizing the need for a more gender inclusive workplace,” said Betsy Myatt, executive director of IICF’s Northeast Division. “Each year, we’re seeing more and more people inspired to champion change. For example, we’ve seen many conference attendees start up their own women’s networks and mentorship programs to foster the advancement of women in their organizations.”
“While there is still progress to be made toward achieving gender equality, the vast majority of survey respondents who have found a positive shift in corporate culture is certainly telling of the strides the insurance industry has made thus far,” said Bill Ross, CEO of IICF.
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