Media concept smart TV


Driving progress on gender inclusion

Driving progress on gender inclusion

By Reeken Patel

Friday, March 8, 2024

According to the United Nations, the world is not on track to achieve its goal of Gender Equality by 2030. The facts are stark. While half the world’s population is female, this figure doesn’t equate in terms of average pay or opportunity. The political backdrop too - even in some of the world’s most developed nations – is complex and challenging for many women.

Gender equality is one of the many United Nations Sustainable Development goals we support at Tokio Marine Kiln, and our focus on it builds on our proud heritage in supporting gender inclusion. Back in the 1960s, our Founder, Robert Kiln, who was as culturally progressive as he was entrepreneurial, campaigned for women to be allowed to work in the Underwriting Room at Lloyd’s. The campaign was ultimately successful, with Countess Inchape becoming the first female being permitted to underwrite – albeit through an agent - in 1970. Liliana Archibald then made history in 1973 as the first female underwriter to conduct business directly in the Underwriting Room.   

Today at TMK, though we have exceeded the Lloyd’s target for women in leadership roles and we are striving to improve our gender balance across our business overall, gender differences still exist in our highest paying roles.

International Women’s Day is an important opportunity to reflect on the work we are doing in our insurance industry and at TMK, as we work to foster a more inclusive working environment for all our employees and ultimately deliver improved outcomes for customers and society overall. We know that more inclusive businesses deliver better outcomes and are more sustainable, and we are committed to being a leader in this space. So how are we playing our part for our employees, customers and the communities in which we live and work?

For our employees: Fostering an inclusive and empowering environment
TMK was proud to be named as one of 17 Lloyd’s Market firms recognised for ‘raising the bar’ by Women in Finance for meeting or exceeding the market-wide target of 35% of women in leadership positions in 2023. As our latest Gender and Ethnicity Pay Gap report shows, our mean gender pay gap was 21.9% in 2023; an improvement from 33% in 2018. It is encouraging our efforts are being acknowledged – but there is no room for complacency. While measures like this are important, they must be considered in the context of a broader Inclusion & Diversity strategy that focuses on fostering an inclusive culture and building a more diverse workforce – both of which we believe will enable us to create a competitive advantage.

Family friendly policies
In September 2023, we launched our Secondary Caregiver Leave policy, which offers enhanced paid leave entitlement to ‘secondary caregivers’, including employees taking paternity leave. The policy means that ‘secondary caregivers’ in the UK at TMK can now take up to 26 weeks fully paid leave; the same paid leave entitlement that applies to our UK-based employees taking maternity leave. The policy applies equally to employees who are biological parents, having a child via surrogacy, or adopting. This may include the biological father, husband or partner of the mother, the child’s adopter, or the intended parent if the baby is born through surrogacy. A Secondary Caregiver Leave policy which aligns with local market conditions is also being implemented for TMK employees in Singapore.  Take up has been positive and we have heard very encouraging feedback from our employees.

As a father of two children myself, I appreciate firsthand the positive impact a policy like this will have for families at TMK.

Building a more competitive and inclusive marketplace is good for us all, so it is encouraging to see more insurers beginning to introduce policies like this.  

TMK also launched policies, training and guidance for the Menopause, and Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence - the latter of which is an issue that anyone can experience, but research shows that it disproportionately affects females.

Dynamic working
Another notable success for us has been our Dynamic Working Policy, which is a principles-based system of hybrid working that empowers employees and their managers to evolve working patterns that best meet the needs of both the business and the employee. In our last employee survey, 95% of employees said that “Dynamic Working is working for me”, and we are keen to continue working with employees to ensure it remains effective and relevant.

Our active Gender Network is exploring the barriers that prevent fair and equal opportunity for women to progress and leads activities such as our International Women’s Day campaign to promote female representation.

For our customers: Helping improve health outcomes for women
As insurers, the products and services we underwrite underpin advancements and can enable positive change for our customers and society overall. In 2023, our Head of Life Sciences, Kirsten Shastri was named Trailblazer of the Year at the Women in Insurance awards for her work to support innovation in women’s health. Kirsten and her team have combined their scientific knowledge with specialist underwriting expertise to support a range of clients operating in the life sciences sector, including those focused on female health; an area that has been chronically underfunded. The inclusive underwriting approach being undertaken by Kirsten and her team is opening doors for FemHealth founders, and for women overall, who will be able to benefit from access to these new innovations – from wearable medical devices to remote diagnostics for fertility and menopause testing and support today and in the future.

For our communities: Making a difference
Beyond building our internal culture and supporting our customers, an important strategic focus for me, as executive sponsor of the Gender Network, is considering how we promote insurance as a career choice for girls. It is imperative we attract the most talented people to our industry to improve gender representation. To support this aim, we are this year donating to a charity to support increasing female participation in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM). I will be working with our Inclusion & Diversity Council and our Gender Network to explore the difference we can make with our new charity partner together.

Happy International Women’s Day to our colleagues, customers and our communities. I would like to extend a particular thank you to the TMK Gender Network for their hard work and engagement throughout the year. We are committed to being a force for positive change and will continue to share our learnings as we move forward.


Look out for TMK’s upcoming Gender and Ethnicity Pay gap report for more information on the work we are doing to embed our value of inclusion across our business. You can also follow TMK on LinkedIn.

Interested in a career with a company that truly values its people? Take a look at