How Westpac is educating and empowering women

June 18 2018

Considering a career in tech? Westpac is paving the way by inspiring and empowering their female employees to dream big.

The crusade to secure more women in roles within the technology sector has certainly gained traction in recent years but it’s also a continued reminder of the work that still has to be done. Globally, women remain underrepresented in the tech industry, with a recent viral study by 2018 Vogue Codes speaker Tracy Chou uncovering only 10 to 20 percent of workers in technology positions in the big tech companies like Google, Facebook and so on, were women. Here in Australia, Westpac is one company leading the charge to change these numbers. Westpac is open about its commitment to diversity and the equal representation of women in its organisation but it's also taking actual tangible steps to make this a reality. For instance, Westpac was the first bank to publicly pledge that 50 percent of its leadership roles will be held by women, particularly within the tech division, a target it has since hit. If you're a woman dreaming of a career in tech, you might have just found your future employer.

The reality is Westpac understands the role corporate companies play in making sure the technology industry is diverse, and therefore sustainable, and they also understand that this movement begins well before women reach the corporate level. That’s why they support a number of initiatives that encourage girls to consider a career in tech, like Code Camp, a coding program for kids, or Mathspace, a maths app which boosts and encourages maths skills. 

Westpac believes it's critical that girls and young women are exposed and supported in STEM subjects (those relating to science, technology, engineering and maths) if they are to consider a future pathway in any of these areas. For young girls, they continue to hone their Girls@Westpac Work Experience program, but they've also launched the STEM PhD Program, a joint venture between Westpac and the Group of Eight (Go8) universities, which offer students who are studying STEM subjects part-time employment at the Westpac Group while they undertake their PhD.  In 2017 they announced their 200th Westpac Scholar through the Westpac Bicentennial Foundation, which supports individuals solving some of Australia's key problems that affect our prosperity as a nation. As part of this, they award Young Technologist Scholarships to support young Australians who are interested in innovation.

Westpac also has a particular passion for ensuring women are equipped to lead, offering the Technology Future Female Leaders program within the Westpac Group, an initiative that helps women achieve the skill sets required to become our future leaders. That means women who secure their dream jobs can continue to excel, grow and become leaders in their fields.

Westpac is continuing its innovation and sets a perfect example for other Australian organisations to do the same. It’s time to follow their lead and empower women and girls to dream big.

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