It’s the mother of all challenges – and it’s something that has come up a few times in the history of the FT Adjusting blog. Here’s three hints: it’s something that provides a competitive advantage to our culture, economy and country. Number two: it works at breaking the stereotypes of the patriarchal society; and number three: we are far from achieving it. If you guessed gender equality, then congratulations! You are one hundred per cent correct. Unfortunately, there’s no prize for this guessing game.
At least, not until the gender inequalities that plague numerous industries, especially the insurance industry, are gone for good. In a report from Insurance News, gender inequalities still dog the insurance and financial services industry despite efforts to bridge the divide.
The most shocking statistic? Women are paid on average 33.5 per cent less than their male counterparts, which highlights the fact that there are far fewer women in senior management positions.
Women also outnumber men in the industry, but only because around 15 per cent are employed part-time, compared to less than four per cent of men.
Association for Women in insurance NSW President, Ahranee Vijayaseelan, says that the idea that the insurance industry is diverse is superficial.
“Can we say the job is done on gender diversity? If we look a little closer, most would have to concede, no. Probably we have not even come close,” says Vijayaseelan.
It’s a pretty depressing prospect. But it’s believed that setting targets and quotas may help to bridge the gender divide. These tactics have been shown to work in Europe, where female representation on boards and in executive ranks is rising.
“As a nation, Australia has been reluctant to employ targets and quotas. Perhaps it’s time for a change of heart,” says Vijayaseelan.
There’s still a long road to travel to reach gender equality in the insurance industry. Then there’s companies like us, loss adjusters who specialise in construction and engineering insurance claims. It might be a little while longer until there are more women in this niche office, but we can’t wait for the day when it happens.
Words by Skye Jamieson