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ADIPEC’s ‘Women In Industry’ conference brought together, for the first time, men and women industry leaders to address the challenges and opportunities for women in the energy sector

adipec2015 womeninindustryPanelists at the Women In Industry conference that was held in Abu Dhabi on 8 November 2015. (Image source: ADIPEC)

ADIPEC chairman Ali Khalifa Al Shamsi, also the strategy and coordination director at ADNOC, said, “Advancing the oil and gas industry requires the collaborative efforts of all professionals, regardless of gender. There is no question when it comes to the value that diversity brings into the workplace, and by working together to ensure that women are given equal opportunities for career progression and development, we are also supporting the advancement of the energy sector.”

UAE’s minister of international cooperation and development Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi said, “Women play a valuable role in the workplace across all sectors. Their unique abilities bring significant value to industries such as oil and gas, where attracting professionals with the right skills mix is essential to progress.”

She delivered a keynote speech in Abu Dhabi, and invited women achievers for one-on-one interviews that revealed their journeys to becoming leaders in their fields. Through inclusive corporate policies and leadership backing, women are taking on active roles, she said. Coupled with community-wide education about myriad career opportunities, women would feel more encouraged to seek careers in energy in the near future.

NES Global Talent’s 2014 survey of 272 female engineers stated that 75 per cent of women in the oil and gas industry felt welcome, but around 45 per cent of the respondents believed they didn’t get the same recognition as their male counterparts.

Additionally, a LinkedIn analysis as shown in Fortune, has said that women make up just a little more than a quarter of the oil and gas industry with a 26.7 per cent share, compared to healthcare (59.8 per cent) and technology (30.6 per cent).

However, Kuwait Energy co-founder Sara Akbar, who was present at the event, felt that there’s now a paradigm shift as more women are forging paths as leaders. Saudi Aramco’s executive director for human resources Huda Al Ghoson said that attracting top talent should be a genderless pursuit, and forward-thinking companies have already shifted toward this approach across all industries, including oil and gas.

Other keynote speakers at the event included Vicki Hollub, senior executive vice-president of the Occidental Petroleum Corporation and president of Oxy Oil and Gas, as well as Melanie Kenderdine, director of office, energy policy and systems analysis, US Department of Energy.

The ‘Women In Industry’ Conference, organised as part of the Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition & Conference (ADIPEC), is renowned for raising spirited debates on the issues surrounding the role of women in the energy sector.