Women as Leaders, Employees and Customers

Date: May 4, 2021 | 09:00 AEST


Since Oliver Wyman launched its third Women in Financial Services report in early 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has created significant threats for gender balance as well as some silver linings in the longer term.

Reflecting on this year’s International Women’s Day theme of Choose to Challenge, Oliver Wyman and Marsh & Mclennan Group hosted a panel discussion on how COVID-19 has impacted women in the industry, across financial services and non-financial services institutions. We brought together some of the industry’s leading executives and directors who are steering businesses out of this crisis and see inclusion and diversity as a core part of this journey:

  • Karen Chester – Deputy Chair & Commissioner, ASIC
  • Tennealle O’Shannessy - Chief Executive Officer, Adore Beauty
  • Patricia Cross - Chair of CSC and Aviva, Founder of 30% Club Australia
  • David Gonski – Former Chairman of ANZ Banking Group
  • Terry Stone – Managing Partner, Americas, Oliver Wyman

The event builded on the insights from our last year’s Women in Financial Services report and this year’s Women in Leadership report. With our panel, we will choose to challenge the hidden barriers and structural challenges of women as leaders, employees and customers, exploring the impact of COVID-19 on gender balance in the near term and longer term, and bringing forward a fresh agenda for positive change.

Discussion Points

  • Progress has been made on gender balance in leadership roles, however 20% representation of women on executive committees and 23% on boards is still far from enough
  • Women in the middle of the pyramid are likely to be particularly disadvantaged, more so after the pandemic
  • Designing for women is a $700bn opportunity, female customers are more likely to be vulnerable and demand simplicity now more than ever
  • Our economic, political, and commercial systems are tailored to the needs of men as a default