Women in Finance Charter

Inspiring women at Aviva

The UK government’s Women in Finance Charter commits financial services firms to support women’s progression into senior roles.

Taking on the role of Women in Finance Charter Champion is a huge honour but also a huge responsibility. Ensuring women have as many opportunities as men in financial services is critical. It’s critical for women. It’s critical to the future of UK financial services. And a successful, inclusive, financial services industry is critical to a revitalised UK economy.

There are still far too many barriers blocking women’s progress in financial services. We’ve got to work quicker and harder. Now is the time for less talk, more action.

Industry-first blueprint 

Women in Finance Charter signatories agree a diverse workforce is good for business – it is good for customers, profitability, investors, and workplace culture.

However, building diverse workforces can be hard and leading financial services (FS) organisations have recognised a fundamental shift will be necessary to move the needle on gender representation.

Amanda Blanc has worked with Bain & Company to design an industry-first blueprint PDF (15MB) with practical recommendations and a toolkit of ideas.

The blueprint is based on interviews with leading FS CEOs, Bain IP, academic research, cross industry case studies and a survey of 100+ signatories.

It is structured into four reinforcing pillars:

1. Recruitment

2. Retention & Promotion

3. Culture & Behaviour

4. Embedding DE&I

While the blueprint focuses on gender representation, it can be leveraged by organisations of any size as they take action across the whole diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) agenda.

The time for talking about gender equality is over. Now is the time for us to act and to act decisively and this blueprint is the first step towards doing that. 

Of course, not every organisation will or can approach this issue in the same way, so the blueprint is designed to be tailored and adapted to your organisation’s needs. It gives businesses a clear idea of where they are on their journey to gender parity, how mature their initiatives are and what still needs to be done to get us where we want to be. 

With this blueprint, we all have a roadmap that will guide each of us towards the ultimate goal of genuine, lasting gender parity.

Our commitment

Women in finance logo

Our commitment to be a responsible organisation ties in well with the aims of the Charter. We’re delighted that we achieved our initial targets as a charter signatory:

  • For women to make up at least 30% of our Group Executive Committee (consistent with our 30% Club commitment in 2016).
  • To establish the Women in Leadership programme as a key initiative for developing a pipeline of leaders at Aviva who are women. 40% of participants have progressed into new roles since we launched in 2016.

Looking ahead

Women and men at an office desk
Aviva colleagues at our London office

We’re delighted that we achieved our initial targets as a charter signatory. Consequently, we set ourselves the targets to have females make up 40% and ethnically diverse individuals make up 13% of our senior leader population by 2024. We are proud to say that at the end of 2023, we hit our gender target and will be continuing the focus on increasing female representation in leadership over the next three years. Unfortunately we missed our ethnicity target but are determined to progress in this space.

In 2024, we continue our commitment to develop programmes which will help advance women at all levels, thereby strengthening our talent pipelines to senior management.

We launched a third cohort of the Sponsorship programme in 2023, expanding this to more levels across the organisation as we understand and see the benefits of this. We launched the Aviva University in 2021, empowering colleagues to educate themselves and progress their learning to develop their career in a way that satisfies their own ambitions. Last year, all colleagues completed the Inclusive Behaviours training which received great feedback, in addition to leaders, globally, receiving the ‘Leader Intervention: Tackling Non-Inclusive Behaviours’ training.

Increased gender diversity not only lends us business benefits but also has a wider impact on society and the economy, and we value this highly.

Leadership lessons: have confidence in yourself

Amanda Blanc, Group CEO, shares some leadership advice with Marta Stawski from Aviva Canada in this short film.

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Transcript  for video Leadership lessons: have confidence in yourself

Amanda Blanc, Group CEO, shares some leadership advice with Marta Stawski from Aviva Canada.

International Women’s Day

Marta Stawski: As we grow in our careers, it’s learning from experience of other leaders is very, very valuable. What would you say are some of the best leadership lessons that you have learned over your career?

Amanda Blanc: Oh, there’s so many. But I think, always find yourself a good mentor coach that, you know, you trust that you can talk to. I think that for me, as a leader, I’ve always found that that’s been a really important thing, ‘cause it can give you perspective.

I also think, learn from the bad things and the good things. You know, quite often we try to forget the bad things and just, you know, take our successes. But, you know, I’ve learned most, I have to say, from when things have gone wrong.

I think the third thing is, you know, from a cultural perspective, for me anyway. Always, always work in a culture where behaviour is really important.

And for women specifically, be confident, have confidence. Even if, you know, in here it’s all a little bit, ooh this is going to be really hard, and I don’t know if I can do it. But having that confidence, you know, head held high, showtime, I’m going in, I’m gonna, yeah, I’m gonna be strong. That can sometimes be the biggest barrier that I’ve seen with women.

But one of the things that somebody said to me they’d read some research that said that, you know, when a woman looked at a role profile for a new role, they sort of tick through the list on the role profile and they say, oh well, I can’t do two of the things on this role profile so, you know, I’d better have a development plan, so I can do them.

You know, whereas perhaps a man may look at it and say, right I can do everything apart from 10 things, I’m gonna go for it and I’ll learn along the way. And, you know, that’s the bit I would say for the women that are going to be watching this, have confidence in yourself.

With you today, for a better tomorrow. 

We're in the top 50

We are proud to have been named in the Times Top 50 Employers for Gender Equality seven years running. Compiled by gender equality experts at Business in the Community.