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07 March 2011

We are always looking for ways to empower women, lessen inequality and bring about diversity at all levels of the workplace and in this breaking news Westpac has again shown its commitment to reaching a new tipping point - turning around the numbers of women at executive levels in Australian business.

Westpac has become a key signatory in the Women's Empowerment Principles; a landmark initiative launched by the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) and the UN Global Compact.

Our CEO Gail Kelly has joined 38 other signatories of the CEO Statement of Support, which unites chief executives from companies around the world in expressing a commitment to lessening inequality between men and women.

Women continue to be vastly under-represented in top positions and on boards - their numbers have been increasing only very slowly over the past decade. To counter this disadvantage, the Women's Empowerment Principle 1 urges company leaders to make gender equality a top priority.

The CEO Statement of Support rallies business leaders to use all seven Women's Empowerment Principles to advance and empower women in the workplace, marketplace and community; and to communicate progress via a variety of benchmarks including sex-disaggregated data.

As part of its long-standing commitment to diversity in the workplace, The Westpac Group joins other signatories to affirm that the equal treatment of women and men isn't just the right thing to do; it's also good for business.

We've also been at the UN Global Compact Leaders Summit in New York (June 24-25) where business leaders tackled issues central to corporate leadership today and essential for building a new era of global sustainability - an era where environmental, social and governance issues are deeply integrated into business based on both material and ethical rationales.

It's all great stuff with long reaching consequences.