Risk, Exposure and Resilience

Friday, March 3, 2017 - 14:33

CII is a Corporate Partner of WOW Women of the World  festival, and here are their thoughts on empowering women to make friends with their future selves.

Life is a risky business. 

We all have a picture in our minds of how we want to lead our lives, both now and in the future. And it's natural to want to protect the picture from all the bad things that could happen to it. But in order to take active steps to protect that life, we need to be empowered with the knowledge, authority and confidence to take control.

Insuring Women's Futures is a programme set up to improve women's empowerment in managing risk in their lives. The first step in empowerment is knowledge. We are raising awareness of the risks that women face throughout their lives, so that each can make personal decisions on how to minimise or avoid risks, from a position of knowledge.

Women face some very different risks to men, and their resilience to financial shocks is also significantly lower than men's. This is a risk for society, not just for women.

Risks change, but so do the support systems that we may have previously relied upon. In the 19th century, women were entirely reliant on the family: effectively their father and then their husband. They still faced risk, but they had no power to manage it. In the mid 20th century the welfare state began to provide a common safety net that, for the first time, provided health, pension and income support for those in greatest need. In the late 20th century, the employer began to provide enhanced benefits in the form of pensions and healthcare. As longevity has increased into the 21st century, these support structures have become unsustainable: we are all expected to look after ourselves. Yet at the same time, women continue to provide the greatest proportion of care in society, often taking part time and less stable jobs, leaving them less able to protect themselves when the unexpected happens, and to plan for the future.

Looking to the future, we as individuals and as society must make conscious decisions about how we want to engage with these risks holistically.

Explore some of the key risks in life by downloading the full Women's Risks In Life report