Gender diversity equals corporate success

Adrienne Blume's picture
Adrienne Blume, Editor, Gas Processing & Hydrocarbon Processing
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At Gastech's inaugural Women in Energy (WIE) programme panel, Phaedra Deckart, Head of Wholesale Gas for AGL Energy Ltd., addressed the largely female audience by emphasizing the importance of gender diversity and the need to pull more women into senior leadership positions, with a target of 50% representation.

She noted that companies with more diverse leadership and stronger gender diversity are more successful. For these reasons, it is imperative that companies encourage diversity of thought, challenge discussions at the leadership level, and push for equal representation for women at the senior leadership level. […]

Women workers help fight poverty. Yenni Andayani, Director of Gas, New and Renewable Energy for Indonesia's PT Pertamina, shared her thoughts on women in the energy workforce, particularly as a means of mitigating poverty.

By 2035, primary global energy consumption will rise by 56%, and more than half of the world's economic growth will take place in Asia-Pacific, Andayani explained. Access to energy is integral for fighting poverty. "Energy today is not just an industrial matter any longer. It is an issue for everyone," the director said. Economic growth is linked to women in the workforce, and more women in the workforce helps to eliminate poverty. The United Nations’ targets to eliminate poverty are pointing to the intersections between gender and the energy sector as key focus areas.

"We need to make it known that women in the energy sector are a crucial pillar in resolving the energy challenges in the world today," Andayani said. The reasons why so few women are at the top of the energy sector may include inadequate qualifications due to inadequate education, unconscious bias by hiring companies, and other reasons. It is also true that the industry as a whole is still trapped in the prejudices of the past, Andayani said.

As women in energy, "We have the capabilities, but we often underestimate ourselves," she explained. Andayani stressed that it is time for women to stop selling themselves short and move forward without fear.

Nurturing gender diversity in the workplace. The last speaker of the panel, Emiliana Rice-Oxley, Vice President of Exploration Malaysia for Petronas, presented a unique viewpoint on being a woman in a male-dominated role. Rice-Oxley noted that she has been fortunate, in her roles at Petronas and Shell, to not have encountered gender discrimination, and that her experiences as a woman in a leadership role have been based solely on merit. […]

However, Rice-Oxley acknowledged that her experience is often not shared by other women in leadership roles, especially in the corporate world, and particularly in the energy sector. The VP credited her mother—a strong, hardworking single parent of ten children—with teaching her that she could do anything she set her mind to do.

However, wanting to succeed is not all that is required to surpass expectations. "You must believe in yourself, you must build your core competencies and you must have personal drive," Rice-Oxley asserted. This helps create a solid foundation upon which one can stand and contribute. It also imparts confidence that will translate into other areas of life.

Within the workforce, women remain an underutilized resource, Rice-Oxley said. The goal is to create gender diversity across entire organizations, and not just in top technical roles. "Why is gender diversity important?" Rice-Oxley posited. "It's not because it's the right thing to do. It's because it's a business imperative. It is a necessity."

Research shows that companies benefit from the different leadership style that women bring to senior management roles, which translates into financial gains. Companies that proactively nurture gender diversity will be more profitable in the future, Rice-Oxley said. […]

Read the full article by Gas Processing.

What needs to be done to achieve gender diversity targets? How important is to work on perceptions and change organizational policies on gender diversity? Leave a comment below.

Gastech’s Women in Energy – Shaping the future for women in energy.