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Gadens and Westpac link-up for diversity

Gadens and Westpac link-up for diversity

Gadens and Westpac have developed a mentoring program to help women reach senior positions.A mentor from each organisation will be available to provide advice and knowledge to a mentee from the…

Gadens and Westpac have developed a mentoring program to help women reach senior positions.

A mentor from each organisation will be available to provide advice and knowledge to a mentee from the other organization, over a 12-month period, in a bid to increase the number of women in senior positions in both organisations.

"In the Australian workforce, women remain under-represented in senior leadership positions. For example, women chair only 2 per cent of ASX 200 companies and hold less than 10 per cent of board directorships," said Gadens banking partner Harry Cormack. "We see this as a real business opportunity to support and develop the talent already within our organisations."

Around 20 per cent of Gadens' 129 partners are female, which is comparable to the female partner levels at many large law firms.

According to statistics released by the Law Society of NSW, the number of female lawyers in NSW increased by 452 per cent between 1988 and 2010, with 46 per cent of lawyers in NSW being female. However, only 23 per cent of principals in law firms with more than 20 partners in NSW are women.

Westpac Group Executive counsel and secretariat John Arthur said that his organisation is looking to increase its number of women in senior leadership roles from its current rate of 36.5 per cent to 40 per cent by 2014.

Westpac chief executive Gail Kelly has previously said that she would prefer companies to set their own diversity targets, rather than be compelled to do so via legal measures such as a quota system.

In Norway, a quota system has seen the ratio of women on corporate boards rise to nearly 40 per cent.

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