Last week we shared our 2020 Keynote Session with you. This week we turn your attention to two other important sessions, both of which covered extremely important topics. Our 2020 sessions, as well as some from 2018 and 2019, are available for viewing on actuview. If you have mislaid your actuview code, please contact our Secretariat.
The Presidents’ Town Hall was our opening session. Representatives from the International Actuarial Association, Society of Actuaries, Institute & Faculty of Actuaries, Canadian Institute of Actuaries, Casualty Actuarial Society, Actuarial Society of South Africa, Institute of Actuaries of India, Actuarieel Genootschap and the International Association of Black Actuaries joined our own President to discuss matters of concern to all of us. These included COVID-19, Diversity and Climate Change.
Our Plenary Session on the second morning was Chapter Six of an ongoing conversation: Diversity of Thought – Promoting Inclusion in the Actuarial Profession (no code required). At this talk the core team of Cathy Lyn, Tonya Manning and Marjorie Ngwenya were joined by senior actuaries from several countries and cultural backgrounds.
We likely all agree that we in the Caribbean are a diverse lot. We definitely have diversity and generally have equality when it comes to race, ethnicity, culture and, to a fair extent, gender but we are woefully in step with most of the world when it comes to socio-economic backgrounds. We could all do better by listening to and mentoring those from underprivileged backgrounds.
Black Lives Matter, which started in the USA several years ago, came to the forefront again in 2020 after the killing of George Floyd. But this time, with so many more suffering economically because of COVID-19 lockdowns, it took on more visibility and spread around the world, with different interpretations in different countries but with one thing in common: protesting against injustices perpetrated by the powerful upon the powerless. Statues of past “heroes” were torn down and places and entities renamed across the world. As we quite rightly rewrite history, we must be cautious not to remove certain individuals from the records altogether as “those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it”.
Most of us have heard of Ada Lovelace, the nineteenth century mathematician, but how many other accomplished pre-twentieth century women have been lost to us because they were not the daughter or sister or wife of a (male) celebrity of the day? Another story goes that, ninety years ago, the Nobel Committee informed Pierre Curie that he was to receive their prestigious prize. He replied that he would be obliged to decline unless the award was also given to his wife, Marie, who had done as much, or more, on the project than he had. How many other brilliant women were ignored because their team mates were not as ethical as Pierre? How often throughout history was “the woman behind the man” in actual fact “the woman beside the man”? Meet 10 Women in Science Who Changed the World.
The CAA can be justifiably proud of our diversity. We started as the brainchild of four actuaries: two men and two women from four different Caribbean nations, speaking three different languages. Today our membership is 50% women and 50% men. We live and work in twenty countries. We are a myriad of cultures and every shade of skin colour. We are Christian, Jew, Muslim, Hindu, agnostic. All working together. What are the advantages of this diversity?
Here are a few more articles of interest speaking to Diversity and Equality:
- The Guardian (UK): Tech platforms vowed to address racial equity: how have they fared?
- BBC News: Windrush generation: Who are they and why are they facing problems?
- The Actuary (USA): Report Holds Keys to Diversity and Inclusion
- IFoA: Diversity (you may see a familiar face)
Upcoming Actuarial Events:
Shares from members:
- University of Toronto lecture: The Coromantee War: Charting the Course of an Atlantic Slave Revolt (3rd Feb)
- Job opportunity with the Word Bank
- January Newsletter of Zyber Global, the cyber security firm
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Stay safe and be happy,
Your News Team: Shubhash, Betty, Pedro and Brian
The views expressed above are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions, standards or policies of the CAA. The CAA assumes no responsibility or liability for the accuracy or completeness of content contained in any linked site.