Advancement of Women

Our groundbreaking Advancement of Women initiative (AoW) demonstrates that powerful, concrete, positive changes in people’s lives are possible through the implementation of strategic policies and the commitment of senior management.

Scotiabank has a long history of supporting workplace diversity: we made Canadian banking history in 1961 by appointing the first female branch managers, for example. More recently, Scotiabank senior management recognised that few women held upper management positions (18.9 per cent in 2003), despite the bank’s large female workforce and various gender-equality policies.

Acknowledging the need to improve the situation, President and CEO Rick Waugh launched the Advancement of Women (AoW) initiative in 2003. A steering committee of senior-level women at Scotiabank developed the AoW strategy, which focuses on seven key factors:

  • Senior management commitment
  • Accountability
  • Networking opportunities
  • Mentoring programs
  • Developing future leaders
  • Sponsoring external women’s initiatives
  • Clarifying policies and procedures related to career advancement

The bank also held leaders accountable for the advancement of women through performance goals.

Since AoW launched, we’ve made significant progress toward our goals. In the Caribbean East, three women are on the executive team, three are functional heads, two are country managers, and several are branch managers.

In 2007, the proportion of senior management positions at Scotiabank held by women reached 31.5 per cent. That same year, we were awarded the prestigious international Catalyst Award for our innovative approach in addressing the advancement of women.

Today, Scotiabank is expanding the advancement of women worldwide by establishing local AoW committees and networking, mentoring, career advancement programs, and events at Scotiabank locations around the globe.