March 12, 2020

A human-centric company, BNP Paribas Cardif is committed to reducing gender inequality, particularly in the area of health, by supporting the Women’s Forum.

Although women represent the majority of caregivers and still very broadly look after the health of their children, gender inequalities in terms of care remain significant. Here are a few examples. In India, the majority of women still have to ask permission from their husband to visit a health centre. For every 100 men aged 25 to 34 living in poverty, there are 122 women, which means that women are more likely to have to struggle to pay for healthcare. But the inequalities are not limited to developing countries. Generally speaking, the most effective treatments for women are often unknown because less data is available on their health than it is for men. In a study carried out in developed countries1, 62% of women say they don’t have enough time to do what they know they should do to stay healthy. Another alarming figure: only 4% of research & development funds are dedicated to women’s health! When it comes to entrepreneurship, in the United States, 90% of healthtech businesses are founded by men2.

“Inequalities in access to healthcare take various forms and exist on several levels for women,” says Rosetta Laverda Desgrippes, Head of Health Line within the Transformation and Development Department (TDD) at BNP Paribas Cardif. There are real biases, particularly with the structural lack of research and data on the appropriate treatments. There are also cultural, financial, geographical and even educational barriers. New technologies can help us correct these biases and remove the barriers, for example, by making real-time expertise possible, and removing the problems of distance and time.” BNP Paribas has thereby decided to take part in the “Women & Access to Health Daring Circle”, a professional working group launched in November 2018 as part of the Women’s Forum3. It’s goal is to contribute to improving women’s access to health, to seek to bridge the gaps between the sexes, to improve the place of women in health technology and to appeal to leaders. Its strength: bringing major players together around this cause Co-led by Sanofi and AXA, in collaboration with BNP Paribas and Google, and in association with British company Reckitt Benckiser (manufacturer and distributor of home and pharmaceutical products) and Gavi (Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization)4, this circle of partners relies on a real spirit of cooperation.

A year ago, this working group launched a call for initiatives to support innovative solutions having a tangible impact on the health of women, all while promoting their role. The result of the courses? 150 startups in 33 countries competed. As a member of the panel, BNP Paribas Cardif, represented by Laurence Hontarrede (Chief Prospective and CSR Officer) and Rosetta Laverda Desgrippes, helped to select the candidates, and then award the prize winners. The finalists receive mentoring, funding (up to €150,000) and increased visibility by the partners involved, as well as the opportunity to access a suite of Google services.

The circle has also published a white paper called “Addressing health barriers through technology”, which identifies the six main obstacles encountered by women and how to overcome them using technology: barriers to accessing mental healthcare, limited access to information, lack of data on women’s health, limited physical access to care, lack of reliable health records and lack of means to pay or time-poverty. “This document also contains advice from sector leaders on how women can develop successful healthcare businesses”, explains Rosetta Laverda Desgrippes and Laurence Hontarrede, who took part in the working group. A lasting commitment across the world.

In addition to this initiative, BNP Paribas Cardif, which is present in 35 countries and employs nearly 10,000 people, has made a lasting commitment to women. For its clients with, for example, the new Cardif Libertés Emprunteur (loan-insurance policy) which extends its cover to gestational diabetes and psychiatric disorders associated with an event such as domestic violence. But also for employees: “In Taiwan, we extended our employees’ maternity leave from 8 weeks to 14 weeks as of January 2019”, says Rosetta Laverda Desgrippes, citing an example. “In Turkey, we have developed a specific insurance product for women with cancer and our efforts are not stopping there. Indeed, BNP Paribas Cardif in Turkey is cooperating with ACEV, an NGO for a rural education programme, and we’re cooperating with the Mimar Sinan University to produce a document on women’s empowerment... All these actions are part of a perfectly consistent and comprehensive approach. We’re convinced that using all the tools available to us will contribute effectively to promoting the place of women.”

All these actions also reflect our determination to combine performance and a positive impact for society, while making insurance more accessible.


> Read the White Paper brochure "Daring Circle - Women & Access to Health


1 Reference cited in the white paper: 8. Luce, C.B., Hewlett, S.A., Kennedy, J.T., & Sherbin, L.(2015). The Power of the Purse: Engaging Women Decision Makers for Healthy Outcomes. Center for Talent Innovation.

2 Source: White paper “Adressing health barriers through technology”, Women’s Forum, 2019.

3 Considered as one of the five most influential forums in the world by the Financial Times, the Women’s Forum, an international organisation founded in 2005, aims to highlight women’s voices and perspectives on global issues in order to create a positive impact on communities and societies.

4 GAVI is a public-private partnership that aims to accelerate progress in poor countries by increasing access to immunisation for children (WHO, UNICEF, World Bank, vaccine manufacturers, private donors like Melinda and Bill Gates).