Equity can be defined as giving everyone what they need to be successful. The IWD 2023 campaign theme seeks to forge worldwide understanding about why equal opportunities aren’t enough, and a focus on gender equity needs to be part of every society’s DNA.
International Women’s Day belongs to everyone, everywhere. Collectively, we can all help create a diverse, equitable and inclusive world.
1. Do you think that more companies adopting a hybrid working pattern has helped to shift pre-conceived conceptions about flexible working for women, and why?
I think companies adopting hybrid working have given families the flexibility to work around childcare. Before the hybrid model was introduced and pre-pandemic, I had to put my son into breakfast club and afterschool club five days a week to accommodate travelling to and from London, which created an extremely long day for him along with additional costs to bare. I was always asked by him, “why am I the first one at school and last to be collected” which created a lot of guilt and sadness for me.
I am now able to drop him at school and collect him around my working day when I'm at home, which is a huge benefit for both of us and something I never thought I would be able to do in my working career.
2. What does being an effective ally for women look like to you?
Listening, affirming and supporting each other. Whether it be in the workplace or personal life.
Being a woman in the insurance industry for 20 years, I have had my challenges in a male-dominated industry. Part of my motivation for moving from a broking role into the in-house talent and acquisition team at QBE is to have an active role in supporting women in the business, and feel I am making a difference. I feel very lucky to be part of an organisation that aligns with my values with women in the insurance industry and I am excited about what we can achieve together!
3. What is your top advice for making job descriptions more inclusive?
Removing any gender bias words to ensure they are gender-neutral. It’s a well-known saying that while men apply to roles when they only meet 60% of the criteria, women won’t apply unless they meet 100% of the requirements. To encourage women to apply for jobs, it is important that we consider eliminating requirements that are not essential. Be flexible – sharing information on working practises and ways of working. We have Flex@QBE, which encourages teams to work flexibly and ensures people are set up for success in a hybrid working environment.
Another important thing to include is the opportunity to request reasonable adjustments to let individuals know we welcome all levels of diversity.
4. What advice would you give women in the industry you work in?
Don’t be afraid; take that leap in your career and surround yourself with inspiring, supportive women and men alike. The insurance industry isn’t as well known as we would like it to be, and I still think it still has an image of being male-dominated however, there are so many exciting opportunities, and the people are what make it.
I would encourage any woman who is new to insurance to connect with other women in the industry, meet for a coffee, have a call and find out more about it. I believe they will be pleasantly surprised at what an exciting place it is to work and the opportunities there are.
There are lots of women-specific insurance networks to join and come together to support each other and enjoy what we do.
5. International Women’s Day is also about celebrating women and their achievements, what woman/women inspire you?
For me, it’s the women around me that I get inspired by. I feel very lucky to be surrounded by intelligent, aspirational women who support each other. We help to lift each other when things get a bit tough and celebrate each other successes.