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Progress still slow: Allianz diversity head

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Progress in achieving gender equality in the corporate world remains slow and vigilance is needed to maintain momentum, Allianz Australia Head of Diversity and Inclusion Edyta Torpy says.

“We have seen a slow changing of attitudes in terms of ensuring that there is fair representation, and more organisations are seeing the benefits of having diversity within their decision-making ranks,” she told insuranceNEWS.com.au before an International Women’s Day event.

“We just need to keep going, and keep coming back to the fact that it makes good business sense.”

Ms Torpy, who took up the Allianz diversity position in January after working for more than 10 years in consultancy and corporate roles in the area, says it is important to remain vigilant to prevent systemic bias and to ensure diversity benefits are realised.

“There are certainly industries that are seen to be more attractive traditionally for women to enter, and others less so, but with more positive senior role models and women making a difference in those environments that is slowly starting to break down,” she said.

Allianz has a target of 40% female representation in leadership roles by the end of next year and is approaching that level with 36% at present. The company is still considering targets for further into the future.

Ms Torpy says there are advantages to a 40:40:20 approach, which means 80% of positions are equally split by gender, but which provides flexibility for filling the remainder.

Allianz was last month recognised as a leader in workplace equality for the 10th consecutive year by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency.

Ms Torpy says diversity is increasingly acknowledged in the corporate world as a driver of innovation and good decisions, as different perspectives are brought to the table.

“If you don’t have an inclusive work environment people tend to assimilate, and you are losing those experiences and uniqueness that you hired them for in the first place,” she said.