International Women’s Day 2023
Published 08 March 2023
by Shirinnaz Amirova, Portfolio Manager, Women's Energy Council
International Women's Day 2023 centers around the theme of “Embrace Equity”, prompting reflection on the meaning of equity for women in the workforce and future female leaders. However, to truly support this theme, it is crucial to recognize the critical distinction between equity and equality. Although the terms are often used interchangeably, they carry vastly different implications. While equality refers to treating everyone the same, equity emphasizes fairness and justice, recognizing that individual circumstances and experiences may require differential treatment to achieve equal outcomes.
Simply having female participation in the workforce is not enough in today’s world. It is essential to ensure a level playing field that allows for equal opportunity and access to resources and opportunities. However, access alone is also insufficient. To achieve equity, there must be an understanding of individual circumstances, resources, and opportunities, and a mechanism to align them to reach an equal outcome. This approach to equity ensures that everyone has an equal opportunity to succeed, irrespective of their background or personal situation.
As of 2019, women in the Oil & Gas industry only make up:
Of the total workforce
Of entry level positions
Of executive positions
Unfortunately, data from previous years on women's representation in the global oil and gas industry demonstrates that progress has been slow. According to the 2021 Global Energy Talent Index (GETI) report by Airswift and Energy Jobline, women make up only 22% of the energy workforce globally, with oil and gas having the lowest representation at just 16%. Additionally, only 5% of women hold senior leadership roles in the industry, with 57% of companies having no women in senior leadership positions at all. Moreover, a report by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) found that women's representation in the oil and gas sector was significantly lower than other industries. In 2019, women held only 22% of entry-level positions in the industry, with this number decreasing to just 1% at the executive level.
The same BCG report also highlights that while the gender diversity gap in the industry is narrowing, there is still a long way to go. Companies that prioritize gender diversity tend to perform better than those that do not, with diverse teams shown to be more innovative and profitable. The World Economic Forum (WEF) estimated in 2021 that at the current rate of progress, it will take another 136 years to close the global gender pay gap. Nevertheless, the oil and gas industry recognizes the need to address gender equity and has recently taken steps to close the gender pay gap and promote women's advancement in the industry.
Initiatives and efforts to address gender equity in the Oil & Gas Industry include:
Diversity and Inclusion Programs
Many oil and gas companies have implemented diversity and inclusion programs to ensure that women have equal opportunities to advance in the industry.
Studies Surrounding Pay Equity
Some companies have conducted studies to identify and address any gender-based pay disparities within their organizations. These involve analyzing compensation data to ensure that women are paid fairly and equitably compared to their male colleagues.
Flexible Work Arrangements
Oil and gas companies are increasingly offering flexible work arrangements, such as remote work options or flexible hours, to help women balance their work and personal responsibilities.
Employee Resource Groups
Many oil and gas companies have established ERGs for women to provide support, networking opportunities, and advocacy for gender equity issues within the company.
Making Public Commitments
Several companies have made public commitments to achieving gender equity, such as setting targets for increasing the representation of women in leadership positions or signing on to initiatives like the UN Women's Empowerment Principles.
While progress is being made, there is still a long way to go to achieve full gender equity in the oil and gas industry. As we celebrate International Women’s Day in 2023, the future appears promising with continual advancements being made. However, the task of closing the gender pay gap and promoting gender equity requires a collaborative and dedicated approach to address the structural impediments that exist. This can be achieved through the implementation of policies such as pay transparency, anti-discrimination measures, and family-friendly work arrangements, among others. We are optimistic that by the time we celebrate International Women's Day in 2024, significant strides toward gender equality will have been realized.
The Women's Energy Council (WEC) is dedicated to taking purposeful measures in promoting gender equity by amplifying the voices of women within their network and encouraging their allies to actively participate in dismantling the historic power structures. By recognizing and celebrating the accomplishments of women in top leadership positions in the energy sector, WEC aims to highlight the abundance of female talent in this field and motivate the upcoming generation of female leaders. Stay updated with our latest content releases by following our LinkedIn page and join our network by visiting the website.
“Happy International Women’s Day to all the Women of WEC, we hope you feel empowered and celebrated today and every day!”
Shirinnaz Amirova, Portfolio Manager, Women's Energy Council
Global Energy Talent Index (2021), 2021 GETI Report.
Rick, K., Martén, I., and Von Lonski, U. (2017), Untapped Reserves: Promoting Gender Balance in Oil and Gas.
Von Lonski, U., et al. (2021), Untapped Reserves 2.0 – Driving Gender Balance in Oil and Gas.