Shaikha Lubna with women industry leaders. — Supplied photo
Abu Dhabi — Although great strides have been made when it comes to women entering the energy sector, the present challenge for female professionals in the field lies in attaining senior-level positions, according to women leaders in the oil and gas industry.
Women leaders shared their insights during a panel discussion on ‘Women in Industry’, which is an exclusive series of Adipec 2014 events and initiatives held under the patronage of Shaikha Lubna Al Qasimi, Minister of Development and International Cooperation, and dedicated to women in the energy sector. The event featured live on-stage discussions and interviews with Shaikha Lubna and women leaders from major industry players, including Total, Occidental Petroleum, and ExxonMobil, outlining the panellists’ journeys to success.
The discussion spotlighted the changing role of women in the oil and gas industry over the last 30 years, when the first Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference, now one of the world’s largest energy events, took place. The event also looked at speakers’ views on the ever-changing roles of women both now and three decades into the future, and what the professional scene for women might look like in 2044.
Shaikha Lubna said that the challenges facing women today have evolved from what they were 30 years ago. “Three decades ago, yes, the challenge was getting women into the energy sector, but now it is much easier for women to pursue a career in engineering — it is no longer a rarity. Most companies now recognise the valuable skillset that women bring to the table, however now the barrier has shifted,” said Shaikha Lubna.
“Today the challenge facing women lies in attaining leadership positions within their companies. We have all seen the statistics about the drastically low proportion of women in senior-level posts. How can organisations provide their female employees with opportunities for professional development? This is the challenge we are facing now, and this is the difference between that era and today,” she added.
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