Women’s History Month is a time to celebrate women’s achievements and applaud the progress we’ve collectively made towards equity and equality. It is a time to imagine a world that is more diverse and inclusive – free of discrimination and bias in the workplace and at home in our communities. Importantly, it is also a time to reflect on the many unique challenges women continue to face, and commit to actions that improve and challenge the status quo.
As we progress through the third year of the global pandemic, it is no question that many women have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19. Cigna research found that women have felt the repercussions of COVID-19 as a result of vocational and professional choices, pay inequalities, care duties, and access to health care.
The result in the workplace, according to McKinsey, is that women continue to feel burned out at an increasing rate – and burnout is escalating much faster among women than among men. Their research found that one in three women said that they considered downshifting their career or leaving the workforce during 2021. McKinsey’s research also uncovered that women are rising as stronger leaders and doing more than their male counterparts to support their teams, but that their work often goes unrecognized due to bias.
“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.”Kristen Gorodetzer, senior vice president of human resources at Cigna
“DEI is not only an important business priority for us at Cigna, it is also deeply rooted in our culture and values,” said Gorodetzer.
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. We conduct ongoing internal pay reviews aimed at ensuring that all employees are paid fairly. We are proud of the progress we’ve made to create more opportunities for women to advance at Cigna, but we know there’s always more to do. We aspire to reach gender parity in our leadership pipeline by increasing the representation of women at our director and senior director levels to 50% by 2024, thereby increasing the number of women positioned to succeed in executive positions within the company.
We know that impactful change requires behavioral and structural inclusion. To hold ourselves accountable to increasing representation of women in Cigna leadership and women thriving at Cigna, our company joined the United Nations Women’s Empowerment Principles, and we continue to partner with organizations such as the Women Business Collaborative and Paradigm for Parity (P4P). We’ve also committed to publishing a Diversity Scorecard Report annually, to identify key areas of opportunity and track our progress against them.
We also know that women face different challenges than their male counterparts and to ensure that women feel supported throughout their careers, Cigna has a number of programs and strategic initiatives in place that focus on career development and advancement, as well as mentoring and coaching. These programs include our Transformational Leadership program that is available to select emerging leaders at Cigna, as well as our Women’s Sponsorship Program. This program pairs mid-career employees with sponsors, with access to digital learning events, coaching circles, and virtual check-ins and was developed to specifically help achieve gender parity in our leadership pipeline. We are also proud to partner with a number of organizations to recruit, grow, and develop women within our workforce, including the Anita Borg Foundation, and the Forte Foundation.
2. Workplace Culture That Empowers Women
Cigna strives to achieve an employee-driven culture that empowers and supports women within our workplace. We were recently named a Top Company for Executive Women by Seramount, formerly Working Mother Media, for our efforts to champion women’s advancement, focus on career development, advocate for gender pay parity, offer work-life balance programs, and promote employee engagement. In light of this recognition, we’re particularly proud of the role our employee resource groups (ERGs) play in our efforts to support and empower women. 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 or elevate 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 recently continued their partnership with The Technology Early Career Development Program (TECDP) for the Women’s Health Drive, 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 and 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 all 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 their 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
In 2021, more than 3,600 employees at Cigna – both women and men – came together 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. Based on the overwhelming success of our inaugural summit, Cigna is thrilled to host our second annual Global Women’s Summit at the end of March 2022.
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.