The struggle for gender equality in the workplace has come a long way. Promising strides have been made in both the startup scene and in large corporations to create more opportunities for women, and countless new female business leaders have emerged as a result.

In the insurance IT ecosystem — my industry — it has been exciting to watch more and more women rise into tech-forward leadership roles.

Unfortunately, though we’ve come a long way, total equality and sufficient diversity in the workplace have yet to be reached. Women are still severely underrepresented in managerial or leadership positions, despite the fairly even gender representation in entry- and junior-level positions.

As a woman who has been fortunate enough to have moved up the ladder, I’d like to shed light on the challenges I and others have faced and provide insight on the hurdles that remain to breaking down equality barriers.

The Workforce Today

Perhaps the most widespread hinderance to women’s corporate climb is that too many people think that inequality between men and women in our society is a thing of the past, when in fact gender inequality still very much exists in both the public and private arena.

A Deloitte study in 2022 found that, between 2019 and 2022, female representation in the workforce grew from 30.8 percent to 32.9 percent, while the number of women in both tech-forward positions and leadership roles rose from 21.2 percent to 25.3 percent.

These improvements speak for themselves, but they also reveal how much work remains to create a more balanced workforce.

To counteract this lopsided distribution, employers in the insurance industry must accommodate work arrangements that suit a variety of life situations, with particular attention paid to how they accommodate women. For example, young mothers often prefer to delay their career progression when they have young children. By introducing flexible work expectations and intentionally creating more roles that can be filled on a part-time basis, companies can create a working culture that allows young mothers to continue working without compromising critical time with their children. Fortunately, there has never been a better time to think creatively about work configurations. The silver lining, perhaps, of the pandemic helped accelerate employee demand for hybrid work models.

Organizations can promote a culture of collaboration and professionalism by advancing women to leadership roles, which by many accounts not only boosts innovation but also outstanding performance.

For insurance specifically, promoting women to key positions will produce stronger, more competitive companies as they will gain sensitivity to a broader range of insurance needs while finding flexible and creative solutions.


How exactly can women who are striving to get ahead in the insurance industry take matters into their own hands?

Education is a critical aspect. First and foremost, I would encourage women to get their academic degree and continue learning more about the insurance industry. Then, when an opportunity presents itself, you can confidently believe — and prove — that you are the best candidate for the job.

Next, be open-minded. An attitude of flexibility and openness allows you to gain insight into the world of possibilities before you. It will also encourage you to embrace new experiences, make way for new ideas to be formed, and ultimately contribute to your own personal growth as well as the growth of others in your organization and the organization itself.

Lastly, women who have carved out leadership responsibilities for themselves should always strive to pay it back and mentor other employees trying to grow their careers in insurance — assuming their busy lives and schedules permit. Strides toward gender equality will only solidify when a culture of female empowerment is firmly established and upheld in the workplace.

As companies of every shape and size strive to create more space for women in their organizations, it is important that they don’t think of it merely as just a progressive visibility play.

By building a workplace environment that promotes diversity, mentorship and an open-minded culture, women in the insurance industry can reach the leadership roles they deserve, and the companies that employ them will flourish because of it.

*This article was originally published by Insurance Journal, CM’s sister publication