The inaugural Women of the Future Awards (Southeast Asia) took place in Singapore last week. Aviva has been a long-time supporter of the awards, and it’s great that they’ve now introduced it to the region!
I’m a strong advocate of what the Awards stands for – to recognise and celebrate young, successful women; and more fundamentally, to identify role models and future leaders that can go on to encourage, motivate and inspire the rest of the female community.
Featuring all nominees of #WOFSouthEastAsia!
And congratulations to the inspiring winners of the night!
The Awards also serves as a reminder that more needs to be done.
Aviva UK recently released a Gender Pay Gap report, which brought to light an uncomfortable statistic – we have a mean gender pay gap of 28.5%. Though it measured well against the financial and insurance sector’s mean of 35.1%, we drilled deeper to understand why, and found that:
There was a significantly higher proportion of women than men in our junior roles, and
Fewer women than men in our senior management roles – only 30.1% were female.
This is not to say that we haven’t tried. At Aviva, we take pride in championing what we term “inclusive diversity”, and actively work on improving our talent policies and practices to make inclusion a reality. However, the gender pay gap report suggests we still have more work to do. We need to create more platforms and opportunities to level the playing field for talented women to progress.
The good thing is, being aware of the situation means we are now in the best possible place to improve things. We are not satisfied with where we stand, but are committed to drive positive change in the organisation and have been laying the building blocks for it to happen.
Back in 2016, Aviva launched the Women in Leadership programme to pave the way for more women to be in senior roles by assisting in their career progression. Since then, we’ve had the participation of 83 high potential women from across various levels, out of which 29 have gone to take on bigger responsibilities within the company. The programme still has a long way to go, but it’s a promising start and a sign that we are serious about helping to break the glass ceiling for our female colleagues.
More recently we introduced Aviva Balance, a global employee community in support of gender parity, which I believe is a first for the insurance industry. It seeks to address the respective barriers that each gender faces, and to help both women and men achieve their potential regardless of career level, market or role. It also aims to promote the progression and retention of talented women at Aviva by fostering a positive, supportive culture, and encouraging our people to freely share their thoughts, concerns and experiences with one another.
Gender equality isn’t a “women’s issue”. Men need to join in the conversation too, and I’m honoured and delighted to be driving Aviva Balance alongside my dedicated colleagues Nick Amin and Sarah Morris, as executive sponsors of this worthy cause. Talent and hard work should be the only determining factors for progress in the workplace and it is up to every individual, both men and women alike, to help create a level playing field for all.
To quote Nick, who gave a speech at the Women of The Future Awards (Southeast Asia) and shared why it’s a cause that stays close to Aviva’s heart:
"One of our values as a company is to create legacy - both in our business and in the communities where we work. And that means fostering a sense of inclusive diversity. We share a common vision that talent should be the only criterion for success, not gender, or race, or any other aspect where prejudice holds people back.”
It wouldn’t be realistic to say that things will change overnight – there are no quick fixes, and it will take time. But gender agenda is no doubt a top priority for Aviva as an organisation, and we are determined to do what it takes to make the change that we need to see!
Are you interested in a career with Aviva? Please click here!