Join me in making clear: Here’s how to get gender equality in energy

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. This is why we hold the GRIT Awards — to share the powerful stories of women. It’s why we’ve launched Experience Energy to help women build careers and advance in the industry. What do you think we need to do to make gender parity happen now — and not leave it to future generations?

Walking the walk: How Wood Mackenzie is driving industry change

Today, more companies are talking about the importance of inclusion.

But how many of them really walk the walk?

Pink Petro’s newest global member, Wood Mackenzie, does. And we are delighted to have them on board.

Woodmac, a Verisk company, is a research and consultancy business for the global energy, metals and mining, and chemicals industries.

“It’s not just about ensuring that the gender balance is equal, it’s about changing the culture. You’re not looking at gender, you’re looking at skills. And everybody benefits from that shift in culture.” 

Anthea Pitt, Director of Public Relations, Woodmac

She first learned about Pink Petro earlier this year when Amy Bowe, the director of upstream consulting at Woodmac, won a GRIT award in March. Prior to Amy’s nomination, neither of them were familiar with Pink Petro.

When Amy returned home from receiving her award in Houston, the two of them looked into Pink Petro further and felt that it was a fantastic organization for Woodmac to be a part of.

What led to this decision?

They loved the career development and mentoring work that Pink Petro does.

Anthea has worked in the industry as a journalist and communications adviser for the past 18 years and is fascinated by the energy sector. One of her big regrets is that she did not know that a career in geology was an option she could have pursued. “In the place I grew up, and at the time I grew up, women from my background weren’t encouraged to pursue further education, let alone a scientific career,” she says.

She is glad that there are fewer barriers these days for women to pursue careers in the energy industry.

The oil sector has traditionally been viewed as a male-dominated industry that isn’t particularly friendly towards women.  But, there are women working quietly and effectively in the background (and it can definitely feel like that at times). 

In fact, Wood Mackenzie has a team of incredibly knowledgeable, sharp women who are involved in everything from exploration and production to gas and LNG, refining and chemicals and power and renewables, to mining and metals. They are clever, diligent women at the top of their game.

Anthea is proud that Woodmac takes inclusion and diversity seriously. In fact, of the 1,382 employees worldwide, 534 are female.

Yes, joining Pink Petro is just one of the ways that Woodmac is “walking the walk.” With strong support from their parent company, Verisk, they’ve also implemented a number of initiatives for women including:

  • Imposter syndrome workshops recognize that all women suffer from imposter syndrome to some degree.
  • Gender working groups look to ensure that the company is balanced in its workplace, policies, and procedures.
  • Women in senior leadership positions including  HR, marketing, cross-research, and consulting roles within their teams and specialties.

Woodmac also emphasizes physical and mental health and well-being as a priority for all of its employees. And they promote gender balance. Within the workplace, at Woodmac there is an active awareness that you need a balance between work and your home life.

Woodmac recognizes women are no longer the exception. And that the company is actively working to be a part of that change in the industry. So, as Anthea and Amy dug deeper into discovering what Pink Petro was all about, membership seemed like a natural fit.

Anthea approached senior leadership at Woodmac to say, “this would be good for all the women working at the company, and particularly the younger women to help them ground themselves within the industry.” 

Woodmac agreed.

Through Pink Petro and Experience Energy, Woodmac employees can learn from women who have had to fight to get where they are and gain better knowledge and understanding of it.