Article: Empowering women in the oil & gas industry


Empowering women in the oil & gas industry

Strategies for enhancing women's representation in the Oil & Gas industry include dismantling biases, implementing robust practices, and providing support throughout their careers.
Empowering women in the oil & gas industry

Traditionally viewed as a stronghold of male dominance, the oil and gas industry has long harboured an unconscious bias towards men. Stereotypical views and challenging field conditions have deterred women from joining the workforce of an industry critical to economic acceleration. Misconceptions about women's suitability for technical roles and a lack of structured policies for inclusivity have limited their opportunities to excel and prove their capabilities.

Today, a transformative wave is reshaping the industry globally, with companies actively championing inclusivity. Initiatives range from challenging deep-rooted stereotypes to revising engagement rules, significantly altering the landscape. In India, where women engineers like A Lalitha have historically spearheaded transformative projects, empowering women in the energy sector is not just about gender equality; it's a cornerstone for achieving a self-reliant ('Aatmanirbhar') and inclusive society.

A pivotal strategy for enhancing women's representation is to actively dismantle the persistent subconscious biases surrounding gender. This requires robust people practices that bridge understanding gaps and chart a clear progression path for women in the industry. With strategic hiring and support, we've seen diversity in oil and gas operations jump from 10% to over 30%. This momentum fuels our commitment to further elevate representation.

Building bridges for an inclusive workplace

To be truly successful, Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) must transcend tokenism, becoming woven into the fabric of our organisational culture and operations for a lasting impact. We see many women engineers working on-site, tackling operational challenges akin to those of their male counterparts. Barmer, for instance, has one of the highest numbers of female engineers in the industry in India. Our goal is not just to hire but to provide an environment where they can flourish, from offering a stepping stone to their professional careers to supporting them through every life stage, thereby contributing to the larger goal of becoming a gender-neutral organization. 

An example of a seemingly small but impactful change is the introduction of two-piece coveralls. Designed to replace the traditional one-piece coveralls made for the male workforce, these offer female engineers much more ease of functioning on-site. Furthermore, uplifting women in our communities, especially by promoting education and providing opportunities for financial independence, is critical. With the country's focus on promoting STEM, perceptions about women in the energy sector are fast changing, attracting more young talent to the oil and gas workforce.

Looking beyond our workplaces, into our communities 

Furthermore, it is also important to increase awareness among the community that no job is out of bounds for women. Organisations can attract more women talent by investing in local communities, especially in promoting education and empowering women. This enriches their livelihood opportunities and enables educational and career pathways for their families and young children, including girls. 

With the country’s focus on promoting STEM, perceptions about women in energy are changing. This is evident in the diversity and inclusivity of Cairn’s workforce, where one in five of its 1300 employees is a woman. 

Studies have proven that having women in their workforce and leadership roles outperform comparators on three key aspects: return on equity, return on sales, and return on invested capital. 

There are no jobs beyond the purview of women, and we must break any prevailing stereotypes. The journey of empowering women through a rigorous focus on D&I is serving as a model for how we can integrate women into the technical workforce and make them proud ambassadors of an 'Aatmanirbhar Bharat' in the energy sector. This narrative is not just about Cairn Oil & Gas but a clarion call to all sectors to integrate D&I principles deeply and meaningfully into their operations. Together, let's forge a path toward a society that is inclusive, equitable, and prosperous for all. By cultivating a workplace that provides equal opportunities for growth and advancement, regardless of background or identity, we can break down barriers and harness the full potential of every individual's talent and skill, leaving discrimination behind us.

Read full story

Topics: Diversity, Employee Engagement, #IndustryInsights

Did you find this story helpful?



How do you envision AI transforming your work?