Role models and education are critical to inspire young women in their pursuit of oil and gas careers, but the industry must do its part in this effort. This was a key message during various sessions at the 2013 Offshore Europe Conference in Aberdeen this week, and the point was directly addressed during its Women in Energy luncheon. Speakers highlighted engineering and the oil and gas industry in general as very appropriate and attractive areas for women to work, though doing so is not without challenges.
“This is not a simple industry, and there are areas of it that certainly have risk involved, but that’s part of what the industry is about,” said The Princess Royal, Royal Patron of Women Into Science and Engineering (WISE).
WISE a strategic initiative working from the classroom to the boardroom.
“Its mission is to increase the number of women in the UK in the science, mathematics, and technology workforces … there is a need to raise the profile of these areas in general, and if you’re doing it for women you’re doing it for everybody.”
Currently the UK oil and gas industry provides exciting, challenging and very rewarding places for men and women to work, but there is a lack of skilled people to fill technology and engineering roles. It takes the best and brightest of both genders to deliver the industry’s ambitions, she said.
“As an industry, we have to start improving girls’ belief in their abilities at an early stage, which can affect their career choices. Female role models must also be visible.”
The key for companies in the sector is that girls must be given genuine opportunities to develop their potential in any field they choose rather than steering them toward occupations more traditionally seen as appropriate for women.
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