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Catherine Blades headshot

Our Company is Two-Thirds Women. Here’s Why That Makes Us Successful.


#RealTalk only works when it’s followed by #RealAction. So when we started the Real Talk Lunch Series at Aflac for women in the IT group to gather and frankly discuss their workplace experiences, we made sure senior female executives were there. I was one of those executives and it was an eye-opening experience for me.

By sitting in on those sessions, I learned which issues to raise up and champion on behalf of the women in our workforce. I’m happy to report we’ll be expanding the program to the entire company later this year.

We’ve been able to attract and retain a strong female workforce at Aflac by thinking big but acting from the ground up. Our workforce is made up of 67 percent women, roughly half of whom are minorities. With such a heavily female workforce, we’re constantly striving to move toward gender equality across the board, from equal pay to equal opportunities. We’re at parity on pay (in fact, female employees are paid as well or slightly above the midpoint for a given salary range) and 35% of our senior leadership team is female.

What’s at stake?

A report out of McKinsey Global Institute found that increasing gender equality in the workforce could add $12 trillion to global growth by 2025. And if women matched men equally in terms of labor market roles—what McKinsey calls the “full potential” scenario—the global annual GDP could grow by $28 trillion by 2025. Understanding that number means coming to terms with all the ways in which women are undervalued across the global workforce, underrepresented across all levels of industry, and lacking in support from their employers.

Here at Aflac, we’ve been working toward the full potential scenario for years—and we’re much better for it.

We offer on-site child-care facilities—an important and oft-forgotten benefit for working parents—provide corporate training to help employees learn on the job and set themselves up for future opportunities and take the time to listen to our employees’ feedback and experiences. All that and more are part of what makes us one of the best places to work, named so by Fortune for the 20th consecutive year.

There’s still a lot to do, but we’re proud of the progress we’ve made.

Aflac is powered by a diverse workforce. That means that policies that help women, help our company. Global progress that helps women move forward in business, helps our business. Here at Aflac, when women win, we all win.

3BL Media is proud to have had Catherine Blades as one of the emcees during 3BL Forum: Brands Taking Stands last October. We're currently seeking proposals for speakers at the next 3BL Forum, October 29-30, 2019, at MGM National Harbor, just outside Washington. D.C. Click here learn more on how to submit a proposal to be a part of this event designed for forward-thinking companies. 

Previously posted on LinkedIn and on 3BL Media news.

Catherine Blades headshot

Catherine Blades is Chief Brand and Communications Officer at Aflac.

Read more stories by Catherine Blades