White Camellias for Westpac

White Camellias for Westpac

Westpac’s commitment to promoting gender equality across its operations and in the broader community has seen it receive two of this year’s White Camellia Awards.

Run by the Aotearoa-New Zealand Committee of UN Women, the awards recognise companies’ efforts to empower women in the workplace, marketplace and community.

White camellias have been a symbol of women’s push for equality for more than 100 years, with suffragists presenting a white camellia flower to parliamentarians who supported the 1893 Electoral Act that gave New Zealand women the vote.

The seven award categories are based on the Women's Empowerment Principles, which set out the gender aspect of good corporate citizenship. Westpac was recognised for its work to ensure the health, safety and well-being of all workers, and for its promotion of education, training and professional development for women.

Women’s Empowerment Principles Committee Chair Vicky Mee praised Westpac’s “great work to empower women by ensuring women progressed into leadership roles and that comprehensive talent identification, support and training opportunities were in place for staff at all levels.”

White Camellia

Photo caption: Jennie Ryan, Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy, and Chelsea MacMillan at the awards ceremony

Jennie Ryan, Head of Learning, Talent & Culture said the award for staff health, safety, and wellbeing reflected Westpac’s focus on creating a strong culture of care.

“Our wellbeing strategy encompasses everything from family and community connections to financial wellbeing, shared values, fulfilling work, and mental and physical health,” said Jennie.

Judges noted Westpac had separate harassment and bullying policies, supported by extensive training, as well as a Code of Conduct.

Jennie said Westpac often partnered with other organisations, collaborating with national domestic abuse charity Shine on initiatives to help ensure employees were protected from domestic violence and with Alzheimers New Zealand to become New Zealand’s first dementia-friendly bank.

“In both these instances, we were initially motivated by a desire to help our people and our customers, but we have also freely shared our policies and programmes with other businesses and organisations so as to improve lives throughout the wider community,” said Jennie.

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