In light of International Women’s Day 2024, it is crucial to recognise the significant strides made towards gender equality in the business realm. This day, dedicated to acknowledging the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women, is also an important reminder of the journey that continues to lie ahead in the quest for gender parity.

Over the years, women have made remarkable progress in the corporate world. The increasing presence of women in leadership roles and their growing influence in various sectors demonstrate a positive shift towards inclusivity and diversity in the workplace. However, despite these advancements, there remains a considerable gap to bridge.

A recent analysis by RedArc highlights a concerning trend: women are twice as likely as men to access health and wellbeing support through their partner’s insurance than vice versa. This reflects the fact that not as many women have insurance, so they also don’t have direct access to the added-value support that comes with it, meaning they miss out on all that that entails, be that emotional or practical.

Christine Husbands, commercial director at RedArc, reflects on this finding, stating,

It’s archaic to think of a woman’s reliance on her partner’s insurance policy for her own wellbeing, but our data does show there is a very real need.

Christine Husbands, commercial director at RedArc

This discrepancy points to a larger issue of inclusivity in the provision of employee benefits, particularly in the realm of insurance. Swiss Re’s Group Watch 2023 Report shows that fewer women have group risk insurance than men, and those that do have lower benefit levels than men across all product types (employer-sponsored life assurance, income protection and critical illness).

To some extent this mirrors the current ONS gender split of employees in the private sector and the fact that women are still paid less on average than men. As benefits are often connected to pay, this has consequences for all areas of benefits too.

GRiD, the industry body for the group risk sector, emphasises the importance of employers offering equitable benefits to all employees, irrespective of gender.

Katharine Moxham, spokesperson for GRiD, notes,

This year’s International Women’s Day theme is ‘inspire inclusion’ and we would encourage employers to take action to drive gender parity in employee benefits, especially when it comes to protection benefits.

Katharine Moxham, spokesperson for GRiD

Interestingly, research shows that companies that have more than 30% female executives are more likely to outperform companies that do not.Therefore, it makes good business sense to support women in the workplace, and this includes giving them the health and wellbeing support appropriate to them.

Zanele Sibanda, head of business development at Towergate, highlights the economic contribution of female-led businesses and the need for supportive measures, stating,

Despite female-led businesses contributing a total of £221bn GVA to the UK economy, women still make up a very small percentage of insured key individuals for business continuity planning, so there is a lot of work to be done to support female business owners and female key people.

Zanele Sibanda, head of business development at Towergate

This International Women’s Day, businesses and employers need to reflect on their practices and policies, ensuring they align with the principles of inclusivity and equity. By addressing the gaps in insurance access, benefits provision, and overall support, the business community can take the necessary steps towards a positive working environment where women can thrive equally.

Workplace Wellbeing Professional supports women in business

Take a look at Workplace Wellbeing Professional’s International Women’s Day campaign here: 

Women’s Health: The Ultimate Guide for Managers

….and read our guide on women’s health below.

Women’s Health: The Ultimate Guide for Managers

Editor at Workplace Wellbeing Professional | Website | + posts

Joanne is the editor for Workplace Wellbeing Professional and has a keen interest in promoting the safety and wellbeing of the global workforce. After earning a bachelor's degree in English literature and media studies, she taught English in China and Vietnam for two years. Before joining Work Well Pro, Joanne worked as a marketing coordinator for luxury property, where her responsibilities included blog writing, photography, and video creation.