Westpac has signed on as the pilot partner for People with Disability Australia’s (PWDA’s) Advancing Women Project.

Launched on International Women’s Day the project is intended to break down barriers to participation in leadership and decision-making roles for women with disability.

The multi-faceted program is designed to ensure organisations that are committed to employing and developing pathways to leadership for women with disability, have the tools to support them to thrive in their workplace.

The program promotes a safe working environment for participants and their mentors through the delivery of a practical and targeted suite of training and education resources. Participants and their mentors also benefit from ongoing individual support through PWDA’s community of practice.

PWDA president Marayke Jonkers said women with disability are underrepresented, overlooked, undervalued and not given the opportunity to get ahead in the workplace.

“Since launching our project 12 months ago, we have spoken with hundreds of women and gender diverse people with disability. They’ve outlined the many barriers we face in accessing work and decision-making opportunities. We are ready and willing to lead, but we need organisations to step up and make some changes to create a safe working environment for us,” she said.

PWDA CEO Sebastian Zagarella said Westpac’s commitment to the was a significant milestone for the initiative. “Westpac is demonstrating that businesses can make a meaningful, positive impact in advancing social change. Their commitment to being part of the solution is game-changing.”                 

Westpac has signed on as the program’s pilot partner for 12 months, seeing it as an ideal opportunity to lead the way in closing the gaps and breaking down barriers for women with disability at work.

Westpac Human Resources group executive Christine Parker said Westpac has a long history of advocating for women and championing accessibility and disability inclusion. “Our focus is on creating an inclusive workplace where all our employees feel valued, respected and safe. This program is a positive step in the right direction to break down barriers and elevate women with disability in leadership.”

Westpac ABLE Employee Advocacy Group chair for disability and carers, Ruth Bonser said the partnership is an example of how organisations can be a part of the solution.

“I am a woman with a disability and recognise the complex barriers far too many of us face in our professional lives. Supporting women with disability into leadership positions isn’t just the right thing to do, it makes good business sense. It strengthens our decisions, our resilience and our capacity for a deep understanding of our customers,” she said.

For more information visit https://pwd.org.au/projects/advancing-women-project/.