It Takes an Army: Women in Oil, Gas Encouraged to Mentor Others in Industry
Gender equality in oil and gas can take shape in numerous forms – equal pay, equal opportunities and equal representation in the workplace and in the boardroom.
Many energy companies have made strides in this regard and are continuing their efforts to achieve gender equality.
At a more foundational level, Schlumberger Ltd. has been using its Schlumberger Foundation to support science and technology education since its inception in 1954. Its flagship program, Faculty for the Future, was launched in 2004 and has a long-term goal of creating conditions that result in more women pursuing scientific careers by removing barriers women face when entering STEM disciplines.
Faculty for the Future fellows are selected with the help of Schlumberger scientists and executives in countries where economic conditions and women’s participation in the economy, politics and education is challenging. Fellows are expected to return to their home countries after completing their studies and actively contribute to socioeconomic and technological advancements by strengthening STEM teaching and research faculties.
For the 2018-2019 academic year, out of 555 applications, 50 new fellowships were granted and 112 were renewed.
“The Foundation has received what could be the best batch of highly-qualified candidates ever,” Schlumberger Foundation president Roseline Chapel told Rigzone.
She called the women “high achievers” and said they are extremely motivated and determined to make a difference in their field of work and their community.
“The fellowships represent the Schlumberger Foundation’s long-term investment in a community of highly qualified and recognized role models,” said Chapel. “This contributes to narrowing the gender gap in STEM disciplines by inspiring more women to study science.”
Connected by Experience
Ally Cedeno, who has worked offshore for 10 years, has actively worked to help other female offshore professionals through her online platform Women Offshore.
Women Offshore recently hosted their first event, UNITE, which was a meet-up in Houston. Cedeno said many women attended, even those who had moved on to different careers. One in particular – a well control instructor – mentioned that she wished Women Offshore existed earlier.
“She was there to offer support she wished she had when working offshore,” Cedeno told Rigzone.
Cedeno also said she sees active involvement through a new virtual mentoring program, called Women Offshore MentorSHIP.
“Women with decades of experience who have since moved on from the industry have stepped up to join the program to provide guidance and support,” she said.
The biggest concern Cedeno has heard from women working offshore is the importance of having to prove themselves time and time again.
“Proving that one can do the job doesn’t necessarily guarantee respect. Many women have to constantly prove themselves, day in and day out,” she said. “What has surprised me the most … they are women from around the world, all with different backgrounds, yet they share similar experiences.”
Cedeno spoke of a recent example in which a woman literally had to tell her coworker not to take a tool out of her hands.
“Experienced female seafarers talk about how after a while this incessant need can take a toll, discouraging a woman from maintaining a career offshore long-term,” she said.
Still, Cedeno would like to see more done at the company level.
Last year, GE (prior to their acquisition of Baker Hughes) set a goal to have 20,000 women in STEM roles at its company by Year 2020.
“I would like to see more companies actively reducing the gender gap and to take it a step further by setting a goal of 50/50 gender parity,” she said. “It’s important that companies set quotas and focus on gender diversity through inclusion initiatives.”
The reason why?
“What is measured can be done,” said Cedeno. “Men and women working together inside an organization to support an inclusive workforce plays a major part in reducing the gender gap since these efforts can retain talent.”
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