International Women’s Day 2024: Inspiring Inclusion in insurance

How we’re celebrating IWD24 and why it still matters.

As we celebrate International Women’s Day 2024, our colleagues across the UK are striving to make a difference.

And with the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day being ‘Inspire Inclusion’, we thought it would be a perfect time to explore our #AllofUs pledge, and the strides our colleagues are making within the workplace to make a difference.

But what does the message ‘Inspire Inclusion’ mean? Well, when we inspire others to understand and value women’s inclusion, we create a better world. And when women are inspired to be included, there’s a real sense of belonging, relevance and empowerment. So collectively, we can forge a more inclusive world for all women.

We decided to take a look at some the ways our Howden colleagues are inspiring inclusion this International Women’s Day.

Combating period poverty

More people than ever before in the UK are enduring Period Poverty; a lack of access to menstrual products, safe, hygienic spaces in which to use them due to financial constraints or availability. The cost-of-living crisis is having a severe impact, with more than one in five people who menstruate in the UK now struggling to afford period products (21%) up from 12% in just one year.

Our Solihull team decided to launch a collection bank for period products, working with award winning social enterprise Gift Wellness, an organisation that to date has donated over 6 million sanitary products to those who are homeless, in refugee camps, or simply cannot afford these essentials through its initiative Period Angels.  

Collette Eccleston, Senior Insurance Consultant at Howden Solihull, said: “Some may not realise that Period Poverty is an issue affecting people in this country, nor would they expect an insurance broker to be involved in this important cause.

“But as a team, we feel it’s important to advocate for everyone in our local community and highlight a problem that unfortunately still has a stigma or embarrassment surrounding it.

“Periods are a natural part of life, and it’s important to normalise conversations about menstruation. Everyone has a right to access the right products and healthcare information they need, and no one should be held back because of their period. But many are having to make unbearable choices such as choosing between food, utilities or their personal hygiene.”

The team’s first event was such a success that they will continue the donation scheme going forward.

Breaking barriers

Lydia Heywood juggles a busy schedule. As well as her role at Howden Insurance as a Business Development Executive, she’s also an International Event Rider representing Jamaica and the founder of Cool Ridings; an organisation tackling inequalities from the ground up in the equestrian world to create an inclusive sport.

Through Cool Ridings, Lydia strives to to demystify the sport by sharing knowledge and embracing equestrians from underrepresented backgrounds.

Lydia explained: “I noticed there was a real lack of pathways for passionate young people looking to get into equestrian sport. The next generation need to see riders that they resonate with.

“Representation in the sport is absolutely vital. I thought it would be really important to start a community where we all celebrate each other and come together for training. So, I founded Cool Ridings in 2020.”

Lydia has built a strong foundation, which means that not only is she able to give back to the equestrian community, but also work towards her own dream.

“Since being a spectator at the 2012 Olympics, representing Jamaica has been a goal that I’ve been fixated on. I’ve visited Jamaica to talk with the Olympic Association about the prospect of creating a team.”

We can’t wait to cheer Lydia on as she makes her dream a reality, and to support her on that journey. 

Creating connections

Encouraging women to join the world of insurance and making sure there’s a place for them to thrive in the industry is something we are always striving for at Howden. Someone who’s gone from strength to strength is Shirley-based Commercial Executive Morgan Moore. After completing a BA Hons degree in Business Management, Morgan joined Howden (then called A-Plan) in 2019, inspired by her studies in business insurance.

Morgan explained: “Within my time here I’ve been offered ample opportunity to progress, moving from personal lines insurance to commercial lines. Along the way I have achieved both my CII and Dip in insurance, and I am now well on my way to being ACII qualified.

Alex, Morgan and Nikki

“I’ve also been able to show my skills within the marketing and business development side of Howden, recently starting the No Nonsense Networking group for local businesses to engage and benefit from each other!”

Alongside colleagues Alex Pridmore-Wood and Nikki Kyriacou, Morgan set out to create a networking group that offered a more personal and laid-back environment than what they’d experienced previously.

“We wanted it to feel accessible for everyone,” Morgan continued. “It’s allowed me to create a relationship with the Hall Green branch, as they are closely located to the Shirley branch, and establish better communication between the two branches. The group has gone from strength to strength, with regular members who really feel a part of something. This has now started to spread across the branches, with the hope of it becoming a nationwide Howden networking event!”

Improving representation in insurance

At our Everywoman Insurance Forum, women from across Howden came together to discuss how to build an inclusive culture within an organisation and have courageous conversations about allyship in the workplace and beyond.

Did you know? 

  • There are only two female insurance CEOs in the FTSE 350. 
  • When applying for jobs men will apply when they have 60% of the qualifications needed whereas women will wait until they have 100%. 

Figures from specialist employment law firm GQ Littler show how women make up less than 7% of chief executives within the insurance industry. As our CEO Kelly Ogley talked about in her recent Insurance Post column, if women don’t see themselves reflected in executive and management roles, there’s a lack of role models for them to aspire towards. This can severely impact women’s belief and self-confidence, and even lead towards feelings of imposter syndrome.

That’s why Inspiring Inclusion is such a meaningful theme for this year’s International Women’s Day. When more women, from all backgrounds, can see themselves reflected in positions they never thought possible, it encourages us all to aim higher. It’s thanks to all the incredible trailblazers, we have within our branches, and behind the scenes, who are setting a new precedent for future generations.

If that sounds like something you’d like to be a part of, then why not explore our job board and if you see something you like, just apply! Not only do we offer progression and a friendly, supportive environment to work in, but also have a host of employee benefits on offer, including healthcare and Perkbox to keep you on our team for as long as we can! We recruit for branches up and down the country in addition to head office support.

And don’t forget to let us know how you’re celebrating International Women’s Day! Join us on Facebook and Instagram to join the conversation.