Gender and insurance

Gender equality is one of the Sustainable Development Goals and crucial as a cross-cutting theme for the ILO. However, women are not using financial services to the same degree as men and are being left behind. At the ILO, Social Finance is focused on reducing the gender gaps in financial services. For inclusive insurance, this involves working with innovative insurers and others in the insurance industry to make insurance more accessible to women and reduce the gender protection gap.

When improving the situation for women, there are many aspects to consider with the supply, demand and regulations of insurance solutions so they are inclusive and truly meet the needs of women. This includes working with insurers to better understand the specific needs of women so they can design and redesign better solutions; guiding insurers to become better employers of women; ensuring that the distribution channels and salesforces are trained and equipped to deal with female customers given the specific country context; and increasing financial literacy and education among women, empowering them to make informed decisions about their insurance needs. A key project of the ILO’s Impact Insurance Facility is working with IFC’s Women’s Insurance Program to convene Communities of Practice to address many of these issues.

Serving women with more appropriate insurance and risk management solutions and helping them better understand and use insurance has knock-on effects; they are then better able to protect themselves, their families and their businesses against financial risks, such as those related to death, ill health and business interruption. Helping women manage their financial risks also supports their economic participation by helping to reduce losses and avoid detrimental opportunity costs associated with not having insurance. Greater inclusion of women through insurance can help drive the growth of businesses and economies and improves the lives of families and communities. Aside from the societal impacts of closing the gender protection gap, there is also a sizable opportunity and business case. According to the IFC, the insurance sector could earn an estimated USD 1.7 trillion by 2030, if they focus their attention on women alone and provide them with new and better insurance solutions.