COVID-19 has disrupted the lives of millions of workers across the nation.
But women in the workplace have been impacted the most, primarily because they bear an unequal share of family caregiving responsibilities. With shuttered day care facilities and remote schooling, working mothers have faced staggering challenges to juggle their home and work responsibilities. It’s not surprising that one in four women are considering reducing their hours or quitting their jobs altogether due to the coronavirus.
Even before the pandemic, women have encountered significant challenges in the business world. They make less than men in the workplace, and they are underrepresented in corporate leadership. These discrepancies are even more pronounced for women of color.
Clearly, more needs to be done to help working women. That is why I am so honored to receive today the 2020 Luminary Award from the Diversity and Flexibility Alliance at its virtual annual conference. The Alliance works with organizations to develop flexible work policies that promote inclusive work cultures and help to advance more women into leadership positions.
Supporting diverse and inclusive work cultures has been a passion of mine throughout my career in both the private and public sectors. Since joining the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI) as CEO two years ago, advancing diversity and inclusion has been a strategic priority.
Life insurers are already leading the way. ACLI’s Board of Directors were among the first association boards to have all its members sign the Pledge for CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion. Earlier this year, we hosted our first ever Women and Diversity in Insurance Conference, where we highlighted the importance for diversity in our industry.
Last month, ACLI launched our Economic Empowerment & Racial Equity Initiative. It features steps to help more Americans, including those in underserved communities, access opportunities that lead to financial security. It also emphasizes the importance of increasing diversity throughout our companies including on corporate boards.
We recognize that our industry – and our nation – still has a long way to go. With the sustained commitment and leadership of groups like the Diversity and Flexibility Alliance, we will get there.