Gender equality isn’t just about strong female role models. It has to involve society more broadly — how women are perceived, what opportunities they are afforded and how economic change affects them, according to Rupal Kantaria, Partner at Oliver Wyman.
COVID dealt a big setback to women in the job market, but reimagining work can foster a more equitable recovery. Female participation in the U.S. workforce has fallen to the lowest level in almost 35 years, while globally, female employment fell by 5 percent last year versus 3.9 percent for men. And women do far more unpaid work than men, on average. The economic value of this unpaid work is at least USD 10.8 trillion — more than double the revenue of the global tech industry.
Right now, our biggest collective challenge is to bring the pandemic to an end and restore economic and social activity. This offers us a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reimagine and change things for the better. Already, for instance, some big companies in the finance and tech sectors have said they will reduce office space and shift to a hybrid model of working, with many employees continuing to work some or much of the time from home. Will this become a widespread practice, and will the shift encompass a more flexible approach that allows all workers to better balance their work and family obligations? Or will the burden of child and elder care remain mostly on women’s shoulders?
Guy Carpenter’s Women LEAD (Leadership, Excellence, Action, Development) program is a noteworthy initiative driving efforts to reduce gender disparities. The LEAD program encourages employee resource groups to engage with clients and member associations with the goal of offering women in the insurance underwriting industry the opportunity to network and deliberate on gender disparity. It also seeks to empower women and ensure their workplace success. The LEAD program is firm in its commitment to ensuring greater gender equality in the reinsurance industry, and we maintain this is best achieved through active collaboration between stakeholders across the industry.