Equilibrium program for gender diversity
18 November 2015
Rebecca Meli is one of five successful business women from industries outside of banking and finance taking part in the inaugural round of the Equilibrium Program.
Bringing 25+ years' worth of global fast moving consumer goods experience, Rebecca is now part way through the year-long tailored program at Westpac, absorbing new skills and networks to accelerate her career as a banking and finance leader.
"My learning curve was starting to flatten out and I was looking for a new challenge. Out of the blue, one of my colleagues recommended the Westpac Equilibrium program."
"It's an amazing, once in a lifetime opportunity where I am meeting incredible people right across the business and learning every day. I'm new to Westpac but see already that flexibility and respect for our lives outside of work is integral to the culture," she said.
The creation of the Equilibrium Program reflects Westpac's commitment to gender equality. Proactively attracting and accelerating the professional development of women will help us move closer to our aspirational goal to have at least 50% of senior roles held by women by 2017.
More about the program
We've lifted the bar on the ways we attract, retain and promote high potential women. In addition to proactively seeking an equal balance of men and women on our existing high potential and core leadership programs, we introduced two new programs during the year which aim to attract and accelerate the professional development of our female leaders.
The inaugural round of the Westpac Equilibrium Program started in March 2015. This saw five senior women from industries outside of banking and finance selected to undertake a 12 month, tailored development program at Westpac to arm them with the skills and networks necessary for a successful career as a senior banking and finance leader.
An internal program is running in parallel, designed to accelerate the careers of seven talented existing female employees. Early program results are positive, with a number of participants already promoted into new roles and others identified to move into suitable senior positions.
We also introduced Future Female Leaders in Technology, a professional development program specifically aimed at building the pipeline of talented women in our technology division, an area where we have traditionally had a very low representation. As a direct result, many of the program participants have already taken on new or additional leadership responsibilities.
Strong public support for gender equality is fundamental to our ability to make progress and for business more broadly to move beyond the need for target-setting to an environment where true gender equality is achieved. To this end, we supported a number of internal and external advocacy initiatives.
This included running the Westpac Women of Influence Awards in collaboration with Fairfax for the fourth consecutive year, as well as our parallel internal program to recognise our own female employees. In addition, during our extensive month-long program of events to mark International Women's Day, our Women's Markets team launched new gender equity research, supported the Young Vagabond & Westpac School Series education program and hosted its third Study Tour for members of the Global Banking Alliance for Women.