Adipec forum focuses on need for gender diversity


Ashwani Kumar

Published: Thu 10 Nov 2016, 5:32 PM

Last updated: Thu 10 Nov 2016, 9:27 PM

 'Women in Energy' conference highlighted the need for diversity at workplace, especially in the male-dominated oil and gas industry. Danish Ambassador to the UAE and Qatar Merete Juhl said women make a valuable contribution to every business and across industries, and studies have consistently shown the importance of diversity in the workplace.
"Roles that have been traditionally male-dominated are witnessing an evolution, and women are increasingly taking the helm in leadership positions," she said during the forum held at the Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference.
"This holds true for the energy sector now more than ever. The energy landscape is evolving, presenting women with a host of new and exciting career opportunities. By helping prospective candidates identify these opportunities and creating a supportive framework for career development, we are cultivating tomorrow's generation of female energy leaders."
Global management consulting firm AT Kearney said the benefits of increasing gender diversity in the workplace are significant. "Closing the gender gap can alone add 12 per cent growth to the OECD economy by 2030 and generate a positive impact on the profitability of companies," said Ada Perniceni, partner at AT Kearney.
According to recent research from AT Kearney, female participation in the regional workforce has increased by 33 per cent since 1993. Growth in female participation across industries in the GCC ranges from 15 percent in Kuwait to 63 per cent in the UAE.
"In the energy sector, the role of gender diversity is as important as for other industries," said Perniceni. "There is an untapped opportunity to be further explored and exploited. I believe that reaching gender diversity and reaping the benefits will require a concerted effort not only by the women themselves, but also through collaboration and identification of solutions in social networks, governments and companies alike."
Petroleum Development Oman exploration director Intisaar Al Kindi said an inclusive and open corporate environment, one in which varying perspectives are encouraged, new ideas are embraced, and experimentation and 'out-of-the-box' thinking are valued, forms the 'bedrock for innovation'.
"The oil and gas industry has been a male-dominated environment, and it only seems natural that organisations will find it difficult to optimise their performance if they are excluding half of the population," she said. "Women can often be more collaborative and communicative in their approach, which is very important when discussing, assessing, and implementing new ideas."
Innovation will play an instrumental role in helping the industry operate more safely, responsibly, and efficiently, which is important not only for meeting current challenges, but also for the industry's long-term sustainability, added Al Kindi.
"New technology and ways of working are helping us identify the opportunities and risks in our fields and address them in a more streamlined, faster and relevant manner. At times of crisis, when experienced staff are let go, innovation can suffer, so it is also vital that you have a pipeline of talented, technically competent, and balanced pool of staff who can adapt and work collaboratively with the latest technologies in a rapidly changing sector."

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