During this conference, Delphine Traoré shared insights about her personal experience as an African woman in a leadership position. She insisted on the responsibility of corporate stakeholders to offer equal opportunities to their talents regardless of gender. Indeed, as the number of women sitting on the boards of global companies rises, progress is slow and African women have been largely left out, although with some notable exceptions.
Today, gender equality remains a challenge: according to the World Economic Forum, it will take 208 years in the United States at this rate to achieve gender parity. It is even more urgent in Africa, where women represent only 5% of CEOs and 22% of cabinet members.
The negative impact of gender inequalities is affecting African economies: gender inequality costs Africa $95 billion a year, which represents 6% of the continent's GDP. Women’s and girls’ empowerment is essential to expand economic growth and promote social development. The full participation of women in labor forces would add percentage points to most national growth rates—double digits in many cases.
Real investments in education and training are also necessary to decrease the gender gap. In today' digitalized world, gender gap in Africa will be widening with women having lower digital literacy, less access to internet based technologies, and less relevant online content.
Delphine Traoré presented how Allianz Africa is working to open doors to female talents and to provide opportunities to foster a diverse workforce:
- At group-level, Allianz has achieved gender parity across its workforce and continues its efforts to reflect this at management levels by taking deliberate actions to support future female leaders.
- In 2018, women represented 51.2% of Allianz Group core workforce, 43% at Allianz Africa.
- Allianz Africa operational entities count 30% of women in their management.
Allianz has launched initiatives aimed at achieving gender parity and equal opportunities. These include the the “JET Program” implemented by Allianz to support non-executive women in driving their career development. This program encourages female mobility across the group. It offers them sponsorship and mentoring programs to support their growth at executive and non-executive positions. To help women rise to top-management positions, Allianz Africa launched the "AZAF4Women" initiative to promote women leaders and offer them specific mentoring.
Allianz is also raising awareness around the importance of gender balance for business, notably through gender sensitivity training for executive and systematic analysis of policies and practices with regard to gender balance.
Delphine Traoré also raised the issue of financial inclusion, being one of the essential requirements to create equal opportunities for all African women. As a global insurer, Allianz is working to provide financial protection to all, women included. For example, Allianz Africa promotes mobile money as a path for financial inclusion, through the development of several mobile money solutions in Africa. Allianz Africa also provides micro insurance for 500,000 low-income families and individuals, mainly women in Africa.