I heard from folks at Bloomberg this week when this piece came out: Big Oil Battles Gender Problem That May Take Generations to Fix.
My response: Sure, it may. But it doesn’t have to.
The key is for leaders to stop talking about the problem and start focusing on the solution: making diversity not just a “priority,” but a value.
It’s time to make equal opportunity a part of the culture of how big oil operates.
We’ve seen that this can work. When the industry put a new focus on safety and made that a part of our culture, real change followed. It’s time for us to make that same commitment to diversity of all kinds, including gender equity.
Across the energy sector, leaders can and must do a better job of appealing to and engaging with women. Currently, the industry does not communicate well enough about possibilities for women to have flourishing careers. It doesn’t do enough reach out to universities to build a pipeline of talent, attracting women in STEM. And there aren’t adequate resources inside many companies to help ensure women receive equal opportunities to work their way up the ranks.
Oil companies must also do more to highlight the stories of women at all levels. Rather than just honoring certain women executives at ceremonies with rubber chicken dinners, organizations should provide women with more open forums to be heard. (On this front, see Bloomberg’s coverage of HERWorld here.)
At company and industry events, as well as in media, we should all be learning about the obstacles women face in the industry and how those obstacles can be removed.
This will help empower women and girls to forge paths in this sector. When my daughter sees representations of the people in the energy sector, she should see people like her.
And it will help empower everyone who cares about this issue to work together.
What do you think we need to do to make gender parity happen now — and not leave it to future generations?