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Where Have all the Women Gone?

Increasing numbers of woman are graduating in petroleum science subjects and more are starting careers in the oil industry - but we are still not retaining them.
This article appeared in February, 2018

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Gender equality and the issues that revolve around it are nothing new to this industry or any other; however, we are fortunate enough to be in a world where this particular topic is being addressed now more than ever.

Women in Geosciences

Jane Whaley presenting the key note talk at the Promoting Gender Diversity in Oil and Gas Conference, in London on 20th February 2018. Photo credit: , Copyright. Global Women Petroleum & Energy Club Tapping into new talent is of key importance in such a pivotal industry as oil and gas, but have the mistakes of our predecessors limited this outreach to a single gender? Over the many 'oil booms' and the associated recruitment flurries in the past few decades why are we still left justifying the necessity of gender equality? In fact, why are we even still discussing it? No matter your gender, race, age, sexual orientation or background, we are all entitled to choose our desired topic of education and should therefor be welcomed with open doors at our subsequent career choice. 

This month our Editor in Chief, Jane Whaley, presented the key note speech at the "Promoting Gender Diversity in Oil and Gas Conference" in London. Drawing on 40 years of experience in the oil industry, Jane illustrates the way a career doesn’t always work out the way you expect, using examples both from her own life and from women she has interviewed, such as Cath Norman, Susan Morrice and Intisaar al Kindy, as well as from earlier generations of oil women. Here are some key points we took from her speech, titled "From Storms to Stories: Career Trajectories", presented on 20th February 2018.

  • A career break doesn't equal end of career;
  • Child care is a major issue; keep open minded to a range of options;
  • If you want something (eg shorter hours or part time), ask for it;
  • All experience is valid in a career and you never know when it will be useful;
  • If you strike lucky, seize it and run with it;
  • Don’t have a rigid plan - keep open-minded - always be adaptable;
  • Enjoy yourself!


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