*As Board debuts Women in the Oil and Gas Industry workshop
Lagos — The Nigeria Content Development and Monitoring Board, NCDMB has called on stakeholders to make way for gender balance in the oil and gas sector.
While delivering the Keynote address at the maiden edition of the one-day Women in the Oil and Gas Industry workshop sponsored by the Board in Lagos on Thursday, NCDMB’s Executive Secretary, Engr. Simbi Wabote said the oil and gas sector as a whole is in need of a better gender balance.
A recent study by the Global Energy Talent Index Report categorically declared that there is a chronic shortage of women in the oil and gas industry.
It is estimated that women occupy about 50% of non-technical positions at entry-level compared to only 15% of technical and field role positions. As you can see from the slide, gender diversity decreases with seniority with only a tiny proportion of women in executive positions. The percentage of women in the industry drops over time from 36%-24% between the middle and executive levels.
“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”, he said.
According to him, it is important to highlight that there is a great need to have a gender-balanced workforce by nurturing female talents in the male-dominated sector.
This he said, can be achieved by creating the right culture such as including more women in leadership roles in the industry.
“History has shown us time and time again how intelligent and powerful women are. They have excelled in various fields; Without Katherine Johnson, Neil Armstrong would not make his historic step on the moon. He did because Katherine calculated the trajectories that made it possible, Margaret Bourke– White, made treatment and study of cancerous diseases easy. This was due to her treatment innovations and contribution to chemotherapy, that the reduced the need for surgery. Also, without Paula Hammond, soldiers would have been losing their limbs or die of wounds faster, but for her ground-breaking nanotechnology techniques”.
“Something is unique about all these women I have mentioned thus far, who can tell us? They are all black women!”
“Now let us bring it home to oil and gas; Reba Masterson was a pioneer female geologist and an astute entrepreneur in the oil and gas industry. So hostile was the environment for women in early 1900s, she walked around with a pistol, she was a renowned geologist who used her knowledge of microfossils, to retain her rights for the minerals under the soil, while she sold the surface of the land she bought in Texas”.
“Similarly, we have many Nigerian women who have occupied positions in various fields and made us proud. Katherine Shedu, the great machinist, has trained so many people, in a so-called “man’s field”, which has earned her the Iron Lady, with a whopping over 26 years as machinist in Nigerdock. We were fascinated in her journey and had to run a feature on her in our Local Content Digest quarterly magazine,” he said.
Wabote expressed optimism that there is a bright future for females in the industry.
“In all, what I have been trying to bring to your attention is, we do not believe that women should be in the background”.
“As a Board, we have recognised the unique challenges faced by women in the oil and gas industry hence we thought it wise to bring all of you here today to help us”.
“Looking at some of the challenges such as career advancement, untapped talents, gender imbalance and Limited Presence of Women in Technical roles (STEM) etc. encountered by women in the oil and gas industry, I would like to believe that there is a glimmer of hope in the sector. The energy policies we establish today will affect the investment and innovations of tomorrow and those technologies will help determine the economic growth and individual opportunities for future generations.”
“For us in NCDMB, we are determined to play our role in Human Capacity Development. Part of the Board’s strategy for implementing the NOGICD Act is development and implementation of its Capacity Development Initiatives”
“Our capacity building interventions include deepening indigenous capabilities in the areas of Human Capital Development, Infrastructure & Facilities, Manufacturing, and Local Supplier Development”.
“We have taken specific steps to train maritime cadets, secondary school teachers, agricultural entrepreneurs, pilots, IDPs training in different crafts, technicians, engineers, and environmentalists with over 6 million training manhours delivered”.
“We also have Capacity Building Centers embedded in the design of our Nigerian Oil and Parks Scheme as part of our contribution to the development of infrastructure in the country”.
“Out of the total number trained by the Board, women constitute about 20% of the trainees and we hope to increase the number of women trained to meet up the industry skilled labour demand and we will also do more to encourage women to participate more the oil and gas industry across the country”, he said.
This year’s theme is titled ‘Mainstreaming Women in the Oil and Gas Industry’.