Interviews

Women in North American Energy: it would take 70 years to reach parity

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At the ISME’s webinar “Women in Energy – Challenges & Inequality A North American Comparative,” experts discussed perspectives on the importance of mentorship, gender parity, and work-life balance.

The event addressed crucial questions regarding unequal opportunities for women in the energy sector. Females are still a minority group within the industry.

Possibly of your interest: “Women in Energy – Challenges & Inequality A North American Comparative”

Nowadays, only a third of North American students in STEM fields and 22% of workers in the oil and gas sector are females. If the current inequality rate persists, it will take 70 years to reach parity in the energy sector; even more to achieve parity payment standards.

Mentorship and role models for women: are they essential?

Regarding the relevance of mentorship and aspirational role models, panelists agreed they constitute an essential factor for females’ professional development.

According to experts, mentorship has proven beneficial in the energy sector, which constitutes a particularly men-lead environment.

Besides, role models and coaching provide standards to look up to and foresee what people can achieve in the future. That is why it is so essential to make women top leaders visible; to see a few of them at the top reduces aspirations significantly.

Panelists agreed that mentorship is crucial throughout many phases of females’ lives since it helps them overcome multiple challenges.

Actions females can take to address mentoring opportunities are to get close to organizations devoted to increase visibility and to engage actively in representation events.

Those organisms are often constituted by females in the industry and can help members through know-how and experience sharing.

Gender parity:

According to the panelists, what would accelerate the pace of inclusivity in the energy workforce is to target and carry out activities to encourage women to work in the sector, get transparency through job positions and earnings, and address cultural and social changes.

In that regard, experts observed that even though gender quotas are quite controversial, they can include women in a more diversified workforce.

We, as a society, need to change the narrative of what parity means, they added.

Panelists also pointed out that more women in the sector can provide fruitful insights regarding empathy, integrative behavior, attention to detail, and listening abilities. Rather than generalizing a gendered characteristic, participants concluded that female participation could add value and multiple benefits.

Women’s work-life balance and energy transition

Participants observed that work and private life are often perceived as two opposite paths. However, with more flexible work schemes and digitalization tools, women in the sector and the workforce can balance.

Experts also said an energy transition not only consists of a fuel transformation but also in social and cultural changes towards women.

Possibly of your interest: Energy transition: Deepwater companies are addressing it

The female caregiver and the male breadwinner models are obsolete. Current times demand greater participation from women in the workforce and men in caregiving activities. Such a balance is needed in the energy industry for transitioning.

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