Paving the way for women in the workforce

BATTERY Point local Judy Millar has been heralded a pioneer and trailblazer for women in the workforce during Westpac’s recent 200th anniversary celebrations in Sydney.

Ms Millar was the first-ever female teller at Westpac (then known as the Bank of New South Wales) joining the bank as a full-time employee at just 15-years-of-age.

Prior to Ms Millar’s appointment, women were only hired on a part-time basis, especially during World War II when male staff members were called in for duty.

“There was a lot of media interest that very first day on the job and to be honest, I was a little taken aback,” Ms Millar said.

“I was excited for my new role, but it dawned on me that there were a lot of expectations of me too.

“However, my branch manager was very supportive, as were my colleagues, so it all worked out pretty well.

“I loved working for the public and at first, I was a bit like a shop window where everyone wanted to come and have a look – it was pretty amusing and I had quite a lot of fun.”

Ms Millar straight away began to influence the bank’s management policies and by 25-years-of-age, she was part of a new generation of women who would transform society’s approach to women in the workforce.

Westpac past and present chief executive officer’s Gail Kelly and Brian Hartzer congratulated Ms Millar for her contributions at the bank’s birthday celebrations in April.

They commended her for shining a light on the gender issues many women encountered 50-years-ago.

Ms Millar said she was “bursting with pride” to be a part of Westpac’s “momentous” 200th birthday occasion.

“Throughout the celebrations, I’ve come to realise the importance of being the first full-time female teller and I’m incredibly proud of that,” she said.

“I know it’s stereotypical, but I’d advise other young women to reach for the stars – I was just a young girl with a dream and I worked hard to be recognised and it really paid off.

“Persistence is key and understanding that sometimes things aren’t going to go your way, but you have to keep trying.

“I think it’s important for the younger generation to keep that in mind and I like to tell my grandchildren that all the time.”

Caption: Battery Point resident and first full-time female bank teller Judy Miller at Westpac’s recent 200th birthday celebrations.