We celebrate today, along with much of the world, the March 8th International Women's Day. Gender Equality is one of the Sustainable Development Goals and while much has been achieved since the first marking of that date in 1917, there is still so much to do, in some many parts of the world, and in so many contexts.
The discipline and tools of risk management seem at first technical, abstract and far removed from these vital societal struggles but that is only if we stay on the stylized surface of things and avoid questioning the purpose and objectives of formal (professional) risk management. In fact both financial and general risk management touches the question of gender equality in many distinct and profound ways:
- As the financial literacy and financial inclusion of women in the formal economy e.g., in the context of Sustainable Finance.
- As discrimination and other risks faced by women in their labor relations (reflecting a holistic Occupational Risk Taxonomy that covers all aspects of a working person's exposure)
- As gender representation and opportunity in the Risk Management Function itself.
While in many countries there are now relatively more women in leadership positions that will surely provide ample future risk management heroes it is maybe appropriate to recall on this day one legendary such role model: Florence Nightingale is described as a true pioneer in the graphical representation of statistics, and is credited with developing the polar area diagram to illustrate seasonal sources of patient mortality in the military field hospital she managed. A more poignant example of female ingenuity using the tools of risk management to relieve the self-inflicted wounds of a male dominated society is hardly possible...