One of the first questions put to new Labour leader Jacinda Ardern was whether she needed to make a decision between her career and plans to have children, something Westpac NZ chief executive says is appalling.
“Whether a woman is in business, politics or whatever, I am appalled that in 2017 one of the first questions asked of a new female leader would be about their future plans for parenthood, and it is simply not right to suggest that businesses are or should be allowed to ask women similar questions,” Mr McLean says.
“A person’s intentions around parenting are their own business and no-one else's. The role of the employer should be to find ways to allow their employees to have a full personal and family life and bring their best to work.”
Mr McLean is part of a business group which champions diversity in New Zealand businesses. At Westpac NZ more than half of management positions are held by women and 65 per cent of staff members are women.
He says that Westpac NZ’s policies are explicit.
“We will never ask anyone about future plans for parenthood…that should never happen, either in senior management roles or any other positions.
“Westpac NZ prides itself on being a flexible and family-friendly workplace, and has a wide range of initiatives, including a graduated return to work for staff returning from parental leave and contributions to school holiday programme fees, that are available to both mothers and fathers.
Westpac NZ also founded the Women of Influence programme which highlights the significant contribution women are making to New Zealand’s growth and development.