In celebration of International Women’s Day today, Charlotte Lade, Head of Communications at MetLife UK and Chair of MetLife’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) committee ‘MetLife Makes a Difference’, tells us about some of the powerful initiatives underway at the insurer.
This year’s theme of ‘Embracing Equity’ for International Women’s Day is an important one and should sit high on the corporate agenda for employers of all sizes this year and beyond. It is about taking steps to drive change together and forge a path forward where equity is truly encouraged and embraced by all.
It is only through continuation of communication around such a topic like this that turns small moments into a movement. We need to generate discussion and debate, and help reduce misunderstandings, such as isn’t equity the same as equality, because these actions create and enhance a greater level of understanding than there was before.
At MetLife, DEI is embedded in our strategy, our people commitment, business, and organisational performance. For us, partnerships are just one way in which we can close the gender and equity gaps, increasing the diversity of future workforces for generations to come.
One example of this is the two-year partnership the MetLife Foundation announced with Inspiring Girls International, aimed at empowering women of the future by building confidence in young girls and breaking down gender stereotypes in underserved communities, through a focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) careers.
The UK is one of five markets chosen to launch this partnership, along with Spain, Italy, and Poland. Local Inspiring Girls teams with extensive school networks will work with MetLife volunteers to host school talks, speed-networking events, workshops, and online activity to inspire girls aged 11-15 from underrepresented areas, so they have the confidence to become whatever they want to be in life.
This partnership is part of MetLife Foundation’s pledge of $150 million funding and 800,000 employee volunteer hours to support underserved and underrepresented communities.
The reason partnerships like this are so important is because young women still shy away from pursuing higher education and careers in certain fields. In fact, women make up just 22% of the UK’s core STEM workforce1 and just 9% of chemistry professors in the UK are women2. There is a lot of work to be done to attract, recruit and retain women in STEM careers, including improving hiring and promotion pathways.
All organisations can play a role in embracing equity. Simply put, equity isn’t a nice-to-have, it’s a must have.