… says affirmative action policies not enough
As part of the steps towards tackling the issue of gender parity in the oil and gas industry, the Head of Civil Service of the Federation (HoCSF), Mrs Folasade Yemi-Esan has called on the aspiring female industry professionals to pursue technically inclined disciplines.
Yemi-Esan made the call while delivering a keynote address at a one-day workshop organised by the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board on Thursday in Lagos on a theme “Mainstreaming Women in Oil and Gas Industry”.
Affirming the under-representation of women in the industry and quoting World Petroleum Council 2017 report, the Head of Civil Service of the Federation said that women account for just about a fifth of the workforce of global oil and gas companies including national oil companies, compared to almost every other sector surveyed in the report.
Stating that while men and women apparently set out on a general equal footing, women scarcely reach the top of the organisation. According to the HoCSF a thorough study of the scenario will paint a wider picture as against the common belief which superficially attributes the deficit to poor ambition among.
She said, “it is pertinent for us to go beyond the rhetoric of having a quota for women in decision making or other strategic positions by ensuring that the country maximizes the economic potential of its whole labour force by promoting equal rights, access and opportunities for all at all levels.
“Having identified some of the key challenges women face in the Industry, it is also pertinent to emphasize that pressing for, or creating affirmative action policies are not sufficient in themselves to actualize this course.
“Thus, it is instructive to recognise that fundamentally, the effective implementation of gender related policies is widely dependent on actions taken by women to acquire the requisite skills for technical positions, taking into cognizance that affirmative action is not geared towards jettisoning quality for quantity.
“It is of great essence that present and aspiring female industry professionals pursue technically inclined disciplines, which will in turn expose them to better opportunities in the oil and gas industry.
“Industry players and stakeholders equally have the responsibility of addressing risks associated with material and emotional safety of women through gender sensitive HSE standards as well as pursuing gender smart recruitment legislation.
Earlier in his address, the Executive Secretary, Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board, NCDMB, Enr. Simbi Wabote noted globally the oil and gas industry still remains one of the least gender diverse sectors and hinted that the workshop was designed to find solutions around the issue of gender parity in the industry.
Reiterating the need for a better gender balance in the oil and gas industry, Wabote said, “This event gives us an opportunity to rub minds, discuss and exchange ideas to deepen women participation in the oil and gas industry and also identify and find possible solutions to close the gaps and secure a brighter future for women in the industry.
“The oil and gas sector as a whole is in need of a better gender balance. We are all aware that the global oil and gas industry still remains one of the least gender diverse sectors today. Although women comprise quite a considerable number of talent pool that makes up the oil and gas sector, more men occupy within the sector.
“It is also important to highlight that there is a great need to have a gender-balanced workforce by nurturing female talents in this male-dominated environment. This can be achieved by creating the right culture such as including more women in leadership roles in the industry,” he said.