Gender Agenda: developing our female employees across Australia and New Zealand

07 March 2018 . Australia

As an international healthcare company, we pride ourselves on being an inclusive organisation, promoting a diverse culture and workplace, right across our businesses worldwide.
Gender agenda ANZ

For example, our Australia and New Zealand business is pioneering a programme called ‘Gender Agenda’ for female employees, focused on supporting their personal development and encouraging career opportunities.

Recent gender diversity data on companies in the Australian ASX 200 index highlights the gap in female representation at the top. Women occupy just a quarter (25.4%) of Board seats1, and 21% of executive roles2.

Although we are pleased to say we have good female representation in Bupa Australia and New Zealand’s management team (over 60%) and Executive team (40%), building a strong pipeline of women at all levels of the organisation remains a priority for us. 

The Gender Agenda programme takes a tailored approach for each individual, providing 360 feedback, development days, networking events and seminars – both internal and external – as well as opportunities to demonstrate practical learnings back in the workplace.

Participants work on projects that directly benefit them and their teams. For example, recent projects have focused on creating a new service to enhance the lives of both our female employees and our female customers.

Gender agenda ANZ

Senior leaders across the business are also on board. The programme began as Justin James, Director of Customer Growth in Health Insurance, Bupa Australia & New Zealand, wanted to provide more development opportunities for his female colleagues and further strengthen gender representation, while highlighting the important role that our male leaders can play in this.

Each individual is mentored by a senior leader through the programme and then receives continued support after it has finished.

Since the programme’s inception in 2015, over 40 women have taken part. To date, 94% of participants said they were able to practically apply the learnings from Gender Agenda to their day-to-day roles, while believing it had enhanced the way they worked. Meanwhile, 88% said they are now better prepared to overcome business challenges as a result.

Shakira Beaton, Store Consultant, Bupa Health Insurance, based in our Hobart location, has recently completed the programme. She said: “Gender Agenda has been invaluable to me. I have seen my confidence grow and have realised that a lot of what has been holding me back is my self-doubt and fear that I am not good enough.

“It has given me tools to implement and has helped me open my mind to new ideas and ways of doing things. I have learnt that in order to be a better leader – you must first better yourself.”

Gender Agenda continues to ensure diversity and inclusion remains a key priority for our Bupa Australia and New Zealand team, inspiring and encouraging our female employees to build on their skills and create a better future not only for themselves, but also the wider Bupa business and gender equality as a whole.

[1] Progress towards achieving 30% female representation across ASX 200 Boards has stalled

[2] Chief Executive Women Senior Executive Census 2017