Gender diversity in world oil and gas industry event held in London

Jane Whaley speaking at the Global Women Petroleum & Energy Club event.Jane Whaley speaking at the Global Women Petroleum & Energy Club event.Leading women from across the oil and gas industry met in London to discuss the promotion of gender diversity

Jane Whaley, editor-in-chief of GeoExpro, gave the keynote address at the Global Women Petroleum & Energy Club event in which she outlined her career path from graduate geologist to editor. In her address, she reflected the comments of another speaker, Rita Hausken, leadership strategists and coach for Women In Energy.

Ms Hausken said that it is important for women to always say yes to challenges and to apply for jobs, even if they do not think they are qualified. Ms Whaley said that she applied for a job requiring 10 years experience when she was a graduate and, although she did not get that job, her CV was kept on file at Decca and she was subsequently employed when a suitable position came up. The advice she offered the attendees included not to have a fixed career plan, take all the help available and to enjoy yourself along the way.  

Childcare was cited by Ms Whaley as a major challenge for women in the oil and gas industry and beyond. She said that while she did not have all the solutions, there are many options or combinations of options which should be considered, including part-time work, flexible hours, job-sharing, greater involvement of partners in childcare, as well as the traditional options of childminding and nanny services.

She used the example of asking one of her employers for working hours of 7:30am to 3pm so she could pick up her children from school and urged the women in the audience to ask for certain rights and working conditions rather than waiting for employers to catch up. This was reflected in the address given by Jacky Connolly, VP for people and global capability, Woodside Energy. She talked at length about the company's family-friendly policies, including dedicated space for families and weekly sessions where employees' children can play with robots.

Ms Hausken's address concluded with three action points: for women to help their female colleagues wherever possible; hire a professional, such as a life coach, to invest in your confidence and eliminate negative self-talk; and to look for a new job when the glass ceiling is hit in company and there is no prospect of cultural change.

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