Westpac CEO Gail Kelly has recently revealed that the bankplans to double the number of women in upper management roles to 40% by 2012.
Kelly revealed the news during an address at an Australia Israel Chamber of Commerce function. Following a similar announcement by the Commonwealth Bank in September, the move on behalf of Westpac may indicate the beginning of a shift in Australian banks, an example which supporters of gender equality hope will be taken on board by other industries
Prime Minister Julia Gillard, also in attendance at the event, noted that the setting of targets mightn’t work for all organisations, but acknowledged the importance of a “dedicated focus” regarding the topic of gender equality.
''If you believe as I do that merit is equally distributed through the sexes and you look at any organisations and you're seeing a result of less than 50-50, you got to ask yourself why? Because it must mean there are women of merit that didn't come through,'' she said.
Gail Kelly was named the eighth most powerful woman in the world by US Forbes Magazine, in a list which placed First Lady Michelle Obama at number one.