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Experts task government on gender equality to boost insurance growth


Experts have stressed the need for government to ensure gender equality across sectors of the economy, especially the insurance sector, for Nigeria to achieve an additional 1.25% in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth.

Indeed, the latest survey by Dive In, a global movement in the insurance sector to support the development of inclusive workplace cultures, revealed that unequal pay, cultural and religious biases make the sector unattractive for women.

Recent data showed that Nigeria ranks low among countries that support gender equality and inclusion of women in the workplace, necessitating a need for actions that can impact the country’s potential positively in the future.

Regarding Nigeria’s low ranking on gender diversity in the insurance workplace, the survey sought to understand the challenges faced by women while working in the sector and to learn how they are navigating through these challenges.

While over 90 per cent of the respondents described insurance as an attractive sector to work in, a larger proportion of them still identified some challenges or limitations to women.

About 26 per cent of the respondents cited inadequate opportunities, as the most problematic factor they face starting their career in the insurance industry. Also, 22 per cent cited gender bias as a limitation, 21 per cent respondents mentioned lack of career guidance, and the last 14 per cent named inadequate career guidance as as stumbling blocks in the early phase of their career.

More so, about 59 per cent of the respondents expect their workplace leadership to facilitate opportunities for career development.

To this end, the movement is organising the 2020 festival, which will address issues around diversity and inclusion in the workplace in the Nigerian insurance sector.

These insights will also set the basis for this year’s Dive in Festival discussion; creating a road map for gender diversity and inclusion in the insurance workplace, and an equal opportunity for both genders.

This year, Dive in Festival will take a virtual format, with a moderator and a reputable panel of speakers comprising three leading female and two leading male insurance executives.

The speakers will share from their wealth of experience, and proffer a road map for navigating and overcoming the challenges women and the insurance sector in general face.

The conversation will reinforce the benefits of diverse teams in fostering innovation, creativity, and productivity. But most importantly, explore why diversity and inclusion are critical to long-term success in the insurance sector.

Another outcome of the survey revealed that more women are involved in the marketing and sales of insurance (brokers) than in the assessment of risks (actuarial scientists), which the speakers will address during the Dive in Festival.

One of the speakers, a NextGen Mentor and Co-Founder, African Family Firms, Nike Anani, said: “In the insurance industry, at entry-level, the disparity is not as stark; however, as we look higher up the career ladder, women are underrepresented.”

“We need to engage the highest levels of leadership on the importance of gender diversity, and systematically develop policies that ensure performing women are promoted into leading business roles,” she said.

Speaking on what to expect from this year’s Dive In Festival, Anani said conversations would be around the type of policies companies at the board levels can include encouraging gender diversity. Also, to identify and mentor young female leaders of various tribes and draw up a road map on the desired future in the insurance sector.

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