Diversity and Inclusion is crucial for our business


You have been appointed Group Head of Inclusion last September 2021. Why is Diversity and Inclusion an area of focus for Ageas?

Ageas has numerous long-term partnerships with a diverse group of joint ventures across the world. So being a diverse and inclusive organisation is crucial for our business, as it allows us to understand and deliver for our customers, no matter where they are. That’s why we want to include diverse talent at all levels in the organisation. 

My job is to support my colleagues across the Ageas Group to find ways in which we can attract, develop, promote and retain diverse, talented people. We do this because of all the reasons listed above, but also because we believe in equality and fairness.

Our initial focus is on improving the gender balance at senior levels, but we are also looking at background, age, ethnicity and disability.

But let me be clear – it’s not about positive discrimination or quotas. It’s about supporting all employees to realise their potential, through fair and rigorous processes and management.

Ageas has clear target for the “Glass Ceiling Index” + “Gender Diversity Index”? Can you explain?

These two targets are related to female representation at senior levels. Currently, women make up 54% of all our employees but only 27% of our senior leaders, which suggests that we are missing out on female talent at senior management levels.

These two targets provide us with a goal to work towards – they are not quotas.

  • The Glass Ceiling Index is an external measure of the relative presence of women in senior management positions compared to the number of women in the company overall. We are starting with a target of 70% (linked to our Impact24 strategy) to be reached at the end of 2024 (our current score is 50%).

  • The Gender Diversity Index is another external KPI used to measure the relative presence of women at Board and Executive management level in a company. The GDI has an optimal score of 1 and the Ageas Group 2021 score was 0.68. Our target is to be in the top quartile – we are currently 196th out of 647 companies.  In 2021 Ageas secured the largest improvement of all the Belgian companies and ranks 4th out of the 16 Belgian companies rated.

Why is it important to support International Women’s Day?

International Women’s Day takes place every year on 8th March and it’s a great opportunity to celebrate the amazing women we know as well as to remind ourselves that there is still a long way to go before we see true gender equality. This year’s theme is #Breakthebias. Whether deliberate or unconscious, bias can make it difficult for women to progress in the workplace. Knowing that bias exists isn’t enough, we need to take action to level the playing field. This is your opportunity to demonstrate your commitment to call out gender bias, discrimination and stereotyping each time you see it by posting a photo of you in the #AgeasBreakthebias ‘stance’ – I look forward to seeing your photos! Here’s mine 😊

Emma Francis - Head of Inclusion at Ageas UK