Letter of the Month: Women in the Profession

The following letter by Dr Geraldine Kaye, MD of GAAPS was published as Letter of the Month in this month’s issue of The Actuary Magazine

Women in the Profession
In response to your invitation for feedback on the introduction of the page dedicated to the profession’s female actuaries, I write as one of the first ever female actuaries to qualify in the UK — I was within the first 20. Times have moved on, or so I had thought.

Reading The Actuary magazine and coming across a special page for women in our professional magazine seems demeaning. Non-professional issues are, in my opinion, dealt with perfectly adequately elsewhere. On a professional level, there are no differences between men and women in the actuarial profession. We have taken and passed the same exams.

A page dedicated to female actuaries seems not only superfluous, given today’s heavily legislated business conduct stipulated against gender bias, but comes across as patronising towards achievements from both genders. Surely what is achieved by both male and female actuaries are celebrated on the same page. No doubt, with careful forethought, a note that has been included to encompass male interest, seems to contradict the point of a page dedicated to women in the first place?

This may be a ‘call to action’ page for women to participate in the opportunities increasingly available to them worldwide, but surely a way to address issues and celebrate women in the actuarial profession should not be narrowed down in drawing a deliberate line to differentiate gender achievements in the actuarial industry when we are trying to achieve equality?
G. Kaye
8 September 2011

Editor’s comment:
Helen Crofts’ suggestion to have a women’s page in the magazine was widely debated and 
I sought the views of the editorial advisory panel and other actuaries — male and female. There was no consensus view. The aim of the page was to have a home for resources related to women in business. In the spirit of sharing information that was indicated to be of interest to at least some of the readership, across the gender spectrum, I suggested a trial page with the aim of gauging feedback from readers. I have since received mixed feedback, from males and females alike, and I thank you for taking the time to write in.

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