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Our #HeForShe Commitments

The #HeForShe global movement was created by some exceptional UN Women to drive awareness and engagement in gender equality. It invites people to come together as equal partners to craft a shared vision of a gender equal world, making commitments to empower women and encourage all genders to partake as agents of change that take action against negative stereotypes and behaviours. Unividual have declared commitments to #HeForShe so that we can do something positive in support of gender equality.

1. Communications that talk to women too

Old-school traditions have driven a notion that mainly men deal with money management. Couple this with the fact the financial services has a gender diversity problem, and you get an industry led by men, for men.  This industry, whether it meant to or not, alienated women. Unividual have always rebelled against this notion. When John Baxter established Unividual in 2000 he wanted a business that treated each client as a unique individual ensuring everyone had access to advice. When John’s daughter, Cherie-Anne Baxter, joined in 2014, she wanted to challenge this even further through their marketing communications. During the launch of Unividual’s website the focus was to create a site that talked to both men and women. Society is changing, younger women are waiting longer to marry or not marrying at all. Their financial lives are their own responsibility. Unividual commit to ensuring their communication is open and understanding and does not alienate neither women or indeed men.

2. Create Gender Balance

Women are underrepresented in financial services, especially in leadership roles. In traditional firms women are mostly in administrative roles. Some might ask why this matters as women have never been a dominant force in financial services? Women in financial services gives a business the resource to help all clients. It scraps the financial advice “boys club” perception and there is a huge shortage of talent in financial services so why wouldn’t you want to tap in to another 50% of our population’s talent? Co-Directors Cherie-Anne and Lewis set up Unividual’s in-house academy, Unicademy, as a way to grow the business and attract a pool of young female and male talent to the industry. As part of this commitment they had to rethink job titles to attract women, revisit job descriptions that could deter girls from applying and ensure the interview process allowed both men and women to shine. Every year Unividual has grown its female representation, who all have equal pay, access to training and progression opportunities. Now Unividual has a 47% female representation, 60% of Unividual’s management team are women, including Cherie-Anne who is one of three on the board of directors and we are excited to see which of our Unicademy women could become Unividual’s first female financial planner.

3. Insuring Women's Futures Ambassador

In July 2019 Unividual became an Insuring Women’s Futures Ambassador, a programme established and led by the Chartered Insurance Institute in collaboration with a wide variety of leading finance professionals. Insuring Women’s Futures aims to evolve the industry’s approach to women and risk and to improve financial security for women. As an ambassador Unividual has committed to improving financial resilience for women which will improve financial security for all. This includes improving women’s pension outcomes, supporting young females’ with financial mindfulness, improving female financial inclusion, setting the standard in flexible working for carers and parents and raising awareness and engagement in women understanding risks.  This involves ensuring our approach to financial planning and the way we educate our clients takes in to consideration all these risks women have. Not only do our financial planners work alongside all these guidelines but they promote this through their own communication channels. Sian Fisher, the CII’s Chief Executive, has set the insurance profession the “Talk To Ten Thousand” challenge.  Unividual will be running financial well-being sessions to talk through the “Moments that Matter” in women’s lives during Talk Money Week, which kicks off on 18 November 2019.

4. Inspire Others

At current estimates, workplace and economic gender equality won’t be achieved until 2095, and at that rate most of us won’t
be around to see it!  There is something we can all do, to be the change, that is required to drive gender equality. Whether your commitment is about something you plan to do at work, at home, or in wider society get some inspiration and put it in to action.  Research shows that the unconscious brain dominates decision-making. Challenge your instinctive reactions and try to remove bias from your behaviour more. Stand in others’ shoes and consider the consequences of your decisions on inclusivity. Remember we are all role models, gender stereotyping begins at birth so find ways to create a home or work environment that promotes equal opportunity for all. Gender inequality affects us all so do something today to raise awareness, encourage others to promote and become involved in developing a more gender-balanced environment.

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