On the Evolving Road Towards Female Empowerment

Dr Carole Nakhle

Ahead of Abu Dhabi’s flagship ADIPEC meeting on 12-15 November, Dr Carole Nakhle, CEO of Crystol Energy and President of Access for Women in Energy, talks about the importance of a more balanced gender representation in the oil and gas industry which is still a ‘boys club’. The article appears in ADIPEC News Preview September 2018.

Diversity and inclusion in the workplace in general, and in the oil and gas industry in particular, encompasses many dimensions. One of them is the participation of women.

The plain fact is that the oil and gas industry remains a big “boys club”, though, in fairness, less so than a few decades ago. But for a more than a century year old industry with global, highly sophisticated operations and providing products that are central to our modern societies, one cannot help wondering why the representation of women remains meagre, especially at higher echelons.

Dr Carole Nakhle (in the center) speaking at ADIPEC Women in Energy Conference in 2016

A single convincing argument for such a feature, which is far from being representative of the distribution of the workforce in any country, is yet to be put forward. Things may well be changing. Initiatives are mushrooming all around the world, within the private and public sector alike, supported by dedicated international organisations and governments passing legislation to support women’s participation in the economy and achieve a healthy and balanced society. So overall, it all seems to be heading in the right direction. But will that be enough? Only time can tell. One thing is for sure: The oil and gas industry has a long way to go since it is starting from a low base.

One word of caution. No matter how noble women empowerment initiatives are seen to be, it is important to promote systems that are based on merit and not on gender alone, and to pursue well thought through strategies to achieve that worthy cause, and not engage in simple PR stunts: otherwise, diversity and inclusion will never be properly and fully achieved in the oil and gas industry.

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