I’ve read several articles recently that cite the difficulties faced by women who are struggling (often unsuccessfully) to keep households running, teach and nurture children, share home offices with a spouse, and continue to earn a living while maintaining the high standards we hold ourselves to. I wholeheartedly relate — I have spent the past year maintaining my home, keeping my family safe and healthy, educating my children and trying to manage some kind of work/life balance.
Despite the difficulties of the work environment I find myself in today, I was recently inspired to write an Instagram post that got some really positive responses. That was, I believe, because it not only pointed out the struggles we are all facing in today’s world, but it also celebrated the way in which my company, Sureify, has modified its work environment to allow all of us, but especially women, to continue to contribute and achieve our goals.
My post read, in part: “Today marks one full year of my son’s school being closed. When we pulled him a week before closure, we (foolishly) thought it would be a couple of weeks and decided to just manage on our own. Child care help was not an option, since I am high risk and we can’t let anyone into our home. The ONLY reason I am not one of the 3 million women who has left the workforce due to COVID-19 is because of @sureify Our clients …have not only tolerated my children on calls, but asked to see their lego creations, celebrated their first time writing their name, checked in on that loose tooth and even helped with math… you have made this very trying year special for my kids, and manageable for me. “
In this remote environment, it would be (and has been) very easy to focus on the negatives. But as women, we have seen an incredible amount of growth, accommodation, success and achievement – not just at Sureify, but across the insurtech industry. We are actually bucking the trend – and this from an industry that has been traditionally male since its inception.
As you might expect, the news is not all good for women. A recent McKinsey Study reported that “more than one in four women are contemplating what many would have considered unthinkable just six months ago: downshifting their careers or leaving the workforce completely. This is an emergency for corporate America. Companies risk losing women in leadership—and future women leaders—and unwinding years of painstaking progress toward gender diversity.”
Contrary to these trends, Sureify continues to build its ranks of women, and more importantly, women in leadership…and the opportunities are being fostered here in America and abroad. We are seeing women guide the development of our growing presence in India, something that is becoming more common in that part of the globe. Mint.com reports that, “More and more women in the country are working in senior management positions, with India ranking third in the world on the parameter, according to the Women in Business 2021 report by global accounting firm Grant Thornton. About 39% women are part of senior management in India against the global average of 31%, which signals the changing outlook of Indian businesses towards working women.”
It’s no secret that women make every workforce stronger. The McKinsey study points out that “senior-level women have a vast and meaningful impact on a company’s culture. They are more likely than senior-level men to embrace employee-friendly policies and programs and to champion racial and gender diversity: more than 50 percent of senior-level women say they consistently take a public stand for gender and racial equity at work, compared with about 40 percent of senior-level men. And they’re more likely to mentor and sponsor other women.”
Additionally, EY learned that insurers — which make up the majority of our clients — are also getting the message. “It is in insurers (sp) best interest to recruit more women with backgrounds in science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics (STEAM). While actuaries have always needed mathematics and statistics, just about every aspect of insurance is being transformed by digital technologies, artificial intelligence (AI) and other computing- intensive business processes. It is also important that insurers recruit liberal arts majors for areas like underwriting. These graduates possess the necessary skills for sales, relationship management and creation of business solutions.”
@Dustin Yoder, Sureify’s founder and CEO, has put great emphasis on enabling Sureify’s workforce of women to thrive through the past year. As I mentioned in my post, it’s not uncommon for our kids, our pets and our spouses to occasionally contribute to the chaos of our home “offices.” Dustin, a father of two himself, has encouraged the supportive, productive remote workplaces that can function locally for each of us but that yields results globally for all of us.
“At Sureify we have always understood the importance for all employees to have a flexible work environment,” he explained. “That being said, the past year made us realize we had to think outside of the business box if we wanted to accommodate the immense talents, opinions and insights of the women working at Sureify. We committed early on to enabling our employees to contribute from wherever they were, no matter who pops onto the screen.”
Many women around the world are not letting this unique and challenging environment take away their drive to progress. They are facing difficulties head on, as we all must. And we will have to use our voices, our expertise and our power as an influential bloc to lift other women across the insurtech sector and around the world. Those of us lucky enough to work for women-friendly companies will need to be advocates for others who are not so fortunate. As women embrace this new role and continue to take on the challenges that come with the remote world, let’s take today to celebrate all women around the world who are playing important roles in the history of their county and communities we live in.