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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

Women in the actuarial profession

Welcome to The Actuary’s ‘Women in the actuarial profession’ page. Here you will find news and views primarily aimed at the profession’s 6,000+ female members. However, please do bear in mind that just as almost 40% of Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour’s listeners are men — intelligent reporting of topical and interesting material being a gender-neutral arena — so I hope that this page will be of interest to all readers.

2011 is an exciting year for women in business. The Times Rich List featured the first self-made female billionaires — property developer Xiuli Hawken and Specsavers founder Dame Mary Perkins. And as Jane Curtis takes on the 
presidential role, the actuarial profession’s first female president, the Davies Report recommends that FTSE 100 boards should aim for a minimum of 25% female representation by 2015. “Why?”, you may ask. Because it’s good business sense. There’s a wealth of evidence to show 
that companies whose boards have a 
strong female presence outperform those that do not. This is not a coincidence!

Social media
Social media is here to stay, with many businesses now formulating a social media strategy that incorporates Twitter as just another useful tool to communicate and engage with its chosen market. I’m guessing that the boardroom “Do we need to be on Twitter?” conversations are not so different in content and nature to the “Do we need email/a website/a fax number/a telephone system?” debates that surely preceded them in decades past.

Here are a few interesting Twitterers to get you started if you are so inclined:

• @TheActuaryMag — why not!

• @EditorActuaryUK — Marjorie Ngwenya, editor of The Actuary

• @30percentclub — a group of industry women and supporting chairmen and organisations committed to achieving 30% female representation on FTSE boards by 2015

• @JaneCWoods — coach and consultant specialising in women’s personal development.

You can also use hashtags such as #pensions and #investment to search for relevant people and organisations tweeting on areas of particular interest.

Forthcoming events
And finally, a few forthcoming events 
that may take your fancy (men and women are welcome!):

The financial services knowledge transfer network is running a series of lunchtime Gender Diversity seminars in London. 
The next one is 13 September at the offices of Credit Suisse. For more details contact 

The-Women’s-Insurance-Net-Work, 13-14 October at the Down Hall Hotel, Hatfield Heath, near Bishop’s Stortford, Hertfordshire. enquiries@the-net-work-meetings.com

Women in Technology: Moving Beyond the Boys Club workshop with author of the book of the same name, Dr Suzanne Doyle-Morris. 21 October 2011 at womenintechnology offices, 114 Middlesex Street, London www.womenintechnology.co.uk

Lady actuaries at Staple Inn, 2 November. Social evening to mark the end of the 
Lady Actuaries Dining Club and to celebrate the life of Ada Byron, daughter of Lord Byron, mathematician, scientist and the world’s first computer programmer!


Book of the month
Your Loss: How to win back your female talent is one of the latest contributions to a growing genre of publications focusing on why there’s a definite ‘brain drain’ of female talent at the upper echelons of business.

The ‘Abnormal attrition’ triangle diagram shown below makes the point clearly — and was reproduced in Lord Davies of Abersoch’s recent report on Women on Boards.

Abnormal Attrition Triangle

See www.bis.gov.uk/assets/biscore/business-law/docs/w/11-745-women-on-boards.pdf for the full report.

Authors Christina Ioannidis and Nicola Walther are both former corporate career women turned entrepreneurs. Unusually for a book of this type, the authors hail from the UK, thus providing a different angle from the US-focus of many similar publications.

The book offers advice on how to build a corporate culture that’s sufficiently gender savvy to ensure that women will want to progress through the ranks to reach the top. The book is well researched, drawing on the authors’ own experience; interviews with business leaders; case studies from enlightened organisations who are getting it right; related published works and the views of academics.
Relatively quick and easy to read at 150 pages, it sticks to its key message clearly and concisely. A must read for anyone in a diversity role and any women lacking guidance on how to proceed when it appears that work/life balance simply
won’t balance.

Your Loss: How to win back your female talent is published by Aquitude Press and available from www.yourlossbook.com

Helen Crofts is an actuary, independent consultant and founder of The-Women’s-Insurance-Net-Work.