The CAS has released an updated statement on their strategy regarding increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion:
CAS Releases Updated Strategic Approach to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion | Casualty Actuarial Society (casact.org)
I like it. It’s more focused (possibly too focused). It recognizes that a major barrier to diversity within the profession is awareness of the profession, and move the explicit goals from diversity of membership to diversity of new exam-takers. It embraces blind testing for credentialing (something that I believe has been historically empowering for women in the field – no one has ever doubted that I earned my FCAS), while acknowledging the role of support resources. It’s really explicit about the CAS taking a role in trying to address unintended bias in insurance. It is humble, and recognizes the importance of listening to the people the policy is trying to help.
I hope it’s effective, and I look forward to learning more about the action plan.
I’m looking forward to ignoring another spam email from certain disgruntled old white guys. Or do you think this new strategy, relative to the last one, will gruntle them?
Gruntled or dis, I am expecting to ignore spam from some old white guys in the near future. Spammers gonna spam.
I’m not CAS, but the non-diversity starts at elementary school, mainly with racist and sexist and classist (conscious or not) teachers.
However, CAS probably can’t fix that all by itself, and it should definitely do its part to publicize the profession’s existence and exam structure to all with the proper education background (not merely certain schools with an Actuarial Department / Exam Mill and their already-baked-in non-diverse graduates).
The CAS has observed that our diversity is a lot less than that of other STEM fields, however. So there appear to be issues beyond elementary school.
Without exaggeration, I’d say the racial makeup of upper year actuarial science classes at the university of waterloo is:
5% South Asian
And maybe one black person when I was there. Seems to suggest that there’s a heavy cultural bias going on. Granted, some of that makeup comes from Canada’s racial makeup, but not all of it.
I dunno if that means that the actuarial world in Canada has a problem or not. It may not - if other races are heavily represented in other stem fields, eh, not sure it’s a problem that needs fixing. If the choice is stem or not, that’s a problem. If the choice is stem field a vs stem field b, and culturally a lot of people end up in stem field B, that’s fine with me for now.
The situation is different in Canada versus the US. The CIA’s investigations indicated that the most underrepresented group was the Indigenous community. The proportion of CIA members from the Black and Asian communities was not that out of line with their overall representation in the Canadian population. There are historical reasons for that in Canada that I won’t go into here.
At the Actuarial Foundation of Canada we have tried to reach elementary and high school students facing obstacles through financial literacy programs and programs that encourage them to pursue math-related studies. We found that broad approach was better than just trying to steer kids into actuarial programs. If they end up studying actuarial science, that is good, but it was a bridge too far to just focus on promoting actuarial careers.
I am glad that you put “some disgruntled” in front of “old white men” as it is not accurate to portray this group monolithically. Many old white actuaries are very supportive of DEI initiatives and they are actively involved in trying to improve things.
No, I was referring to one specific small faction of disgruntled old white men who have been spamming CAS members & expressing their opposition to the DEI strategy.
Thanks for illuminating me Marcie.
Sadly, all age groups have some disgruntled members when it comes to DEI initiatives.
There was a specific (and relatively small) group of old white men who spammed CAS members about this. I’m sure Marcie’s comment was obvious to other CAS members, and I’m also sure it wasn’t meant to include all of white men.
No offense taken, I was busily
Thanks Lucy. I am not a CAS member so I had been unaware of the specific spamming that you and Marcie have enlightened me about.
I don’t like to see any group being viewed monolithically so I am glad to see that you are not broadly targeting old white men!
just chiming in, as a now older white guy, that i knew exactly who marcie was speaking of. the spam was salty
Yep, I fit the demographic visually and knew they didn’t mean me.
I also fit the demographic of the covidiots in Ottawa and I drive a pickup. Gotta do something about that, so next week I’m buying a pride flag decal that’s getting slapped on the back window.