Today, August 26, is Women's Equality Day—the day of the year that commemorates the passing of the 19th Amendment to our Constitution, giving women the right to vote more than 143 years ago. And there’s much to celebrate in terms of the incredible amount of progress we have made as a society and a nation in gender equality. But there is still work to be done.
This year, Women’s Equality Day comes at the heels of a difficult moment in time for women, many of whom have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Cigna research shows that women have felt the repercussions of COVID-19 as a result of vocational and professional choices, pay inequalities, care duties, and access to healthcare.
“At Cigna, we believe that a thriving workplace depends on the collective strengths of our employees, and to be successful, individuals must feel represented, valued, and respected,” said Kristen Gorodetzer, senior vice president of human resources at Cigna. “DEI is not only an important business priority for us at Cigna, but it is also deeply rooted in our culture and values.”
As such, there are a number of ways in which Cigna supports women both at our company and in the communities we serve.
1. Fair Pay and Opportunity
Cigna is committed to fair, competitive and transparent pay practices. To support that commitment, we continue to evolve our programs, practices and processes to drive fair pay and opportunity for all employees, regardless of gender, race or ethnicity. In addition, we conduct ongoing internal pay reviews aimed at ensuring that all employees are paid fairly.
We have also made a pledge to increase the representation of women in Cigna leadership to ensure that the perspectives of women are included at all levels throughout the company. We aspire to reach gender parity in our leadership pipeline by increasing the number of women at our director and senior director levels to 50% by the end of 2024, thereby increasing the number of women available to succeed to executive positions within the company.
2. Women’s Employee Resource Group
Employee resource groups (ERGs) play a critical role in Cigna's commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion by encouraging all employees to bring their whole self to work. Our WIN ERG (Women Influencing and Networking) provides women who work at Cigna opportunities for networking, mentoring, personal and professional development, and community service.
“The purpose of WIN is to cultivate an inclusive environment that supports and encourages women to advance their skills and leadership potential through connection, mentorship, collaboration and discussion,” said Dina Kraus, the WIN ERG co-lead and HR service delivery director at Cigna. According to Kraus, WIN serves as a forum for women to find their voice and be heard within our community regarding issues that affect them in the workplace.
WIN also gives Cigna's employees opportunities to impact the lives of women outside of our workforce through partnerships with Girls on the Run and Dress for Success. WIN is again partnering with The Technology Early Career Development Program (TECDP) for the Women’s Health Drive in October, which collects health supplies for homeless women in our local communities and raises awareness about women's health.
3. Women-Friendly Well-Being and Benefits Programs
Cigna's mission is to improve the health, well-being and peace of mind for those we serve, and that includes our more than 74,000 employees across the globe. We invest in our people through a comprehensive total rewards program, which has been carefully designed to help employees enhance their personal, professional and overall well-being.
Our Cigna Moms program, for example, provides new moms with breastfeeding support, access to nursing mother’s rooms at Cigna offices, as well as a complimentary electric breast pump, milk storage system, carrying case, a personal set of bottles, breast shields and tubing to ensure proper hygiene when expressing milk. Nursing moms also get literature on breast engorgement, breastfeeding while working, milk collection, storage, and more.
The Cigna Moms program also provides caregivers with flexible work arrangements such as compressed work weeks, home-based/telecommuting work, part-time, job sharing and flex time. And, our employee assistance program provides resources and counseling around marital concerns, parenting challenges, depression and anxiety issues, ways to better manage stress, and more.
4. Serving Women in Our Communities
There are many ways in which Cigna is making an impact in the lives of women in the communities we serve. But one of the most noteworthy is our work with Girls on the Run, a Charlotte, North Carolina-based nonprofit. Cigna has been a sponsor of Girls on the Run since 2014.
As part of our commitment to help people improve their health, well-being and sense of security, Girls on the Run was the first recipient of the Cigna Foundation’s World of Difference Grant, a program that awards funding to nonprofits that are committed to improving health equity and access.
With support from Cigna over the years, Girls on the Run has distributed more than 1,000 scholarships to girls at schools across the country, allowing them to participate in the program and the celebratory 5K runs. Cigna employees participate as 5K volunteers, Girls on the Run coaches, running buddies, and as council board members within their local communities.
5. Global Women’s Summit
More than 3,600 female leaders at Cigna came together this March for our Inaugural Cigna Global Women’s Leadership Summit to invest in their personal and professional growth. The event was an important step forward as part of our ongoing commitment to gender equity – in support of our Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) strategy, values, and future success as a leading global health services company.
The event theme, “the power of SHE,” recognized women as a powerful force whose skills and visions need to be celebrated and championed. Mainstage sessions included a fireside chat with Cigna CEO David Cordani, as well as a chat with actress and philanthropist Holly Robinson Peete. There were also a number of breakout sessions where attendees could get tips to build resilience, learn ways to expand their personal brand and virtual network, and the importance of allyship, mentorship, and sponsorship.
Supporting Women is Core to Cigna's Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Strategy
At Cigna, we stand for diversity, equity, and inclusion, and we are committed to respecting differences, treating each other fairly, and standing together.