With Women’s International Day around the corner, Women in Energy is a topic that comes under the spotlight every March. But is the myriad of topics that this occasion brings along is getting a little bit old and a little bit redundant? Does this also mean that if we removed this seasonal variation, will it reveal an adverse long-term trend? Women in Energy is an indispensable topic but it is not new. Thus, this topic-homogeneity must be tackled to achieve actual results.

The Current Women in Energy Scene

Egypt Oil & Gas (EOG) conducted an online survey in February to track down this periodic issue and voice women’s opinions on diversity and inclusion of, not only the sector itself, but the topics that the sector should highlight more often in this regard. A whopping 84.2% of the respondents thought that the industry lacks creative topics when it comes to Women in Energy. Although 44.7% would likely read articles on women empowerment, 60.5% thought that Women in Energy is a nice topic, but could be improved.

With an eye on the sector’s current Women in Energy events, 65.8% said that events are the most powerful tool to support Women in Energy. Moreover, in terms of significance, a combined 87% rated those events from important to very important.

For that reason, each year the Egypt Petroleum Show (EGYPS) welcomes around 30,400 attendees from across the world over three days. The previous years’ editions used to celebrate outstanding females across the North African and Mediterranean energy industry with the Women in Energy Conference and Awards. However, this is about to change. “As we look to the future, we understand there is a necessity to cover broader issues surrounding inclusion, diversity and equality in the global energy industry and to celebrate and recognize individual and company efforts in these areas,” EGYPS 2021’s official website reads.

In line with the Egyptian Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources (MoP), the organizers of the leading oil and gas exhibition and conference DMG Events announced the unveiling of the 2021 Equality in Energy Conference and Global Equality in Energy Awards. The award will recognize both men and women in the global energy scene instead of just focusing on the latter. When asked about their thoughts about this title change, 63.2% of EOG’s survey respondents considered it to be on-point.

New Perspectives of Women in Energy

“Women empowerment is one of the top priorities for governments, however, I believe that it is important to motivate more women to take on, through sharing success stories that would be inspiring to reach higher and to move forward despite of any obstacles. Moreover, it is important to recognize and showcase the impressive accomplishments of distinguished women to keep the aspirations alive,” Haidy Eissa, Senior Instrumentation & Control Engineer, told Egypt Oil & Gas.

Half of the women who have taken the survey are increasingly keen to see more content on strategic leadership. Meanwhile, 71.1% of the respondents suggested that featuring more interviews with industry experts would make Women in Energy content much more appealing. Furthermore, 68.4% indicated that recognizing women’s accomplishments and celebrating them is really what pushes and empowers them the most. Besides, 50% of the respondents said that they find female role models in the sector through events.

It is important to note that in EOG’s survey, the respondents were distributed almost equally on how they perceive webinars as a tool to empower women; where they were divided on its level of effectiveness in the long term, the short term, and overall effectiveness. This can indicate that there is an underlying notion as to whether webinars are even effective at all or not.

Pushing for Change

“The global landscape of the energy sector had a reputation of being male dominated, however, this now belongs in the past! Women are now leading the transition. Our limitless ambition and determination have been always our driver,” Eissa told Egypt Oil & Gas.

In September 2020, Massiel Diez, business development manager at Extreme/SLB, wrote on LinkedIn a post that went viral saying, “You know what really bothers me about the constant push and focus on diversity and inclusion in our industry? That sometimes they do it for the wrong reasons and promote the wrong people just to hit a target. I think the original concept is very needed and a must, but it is complicated.”

The business development manager also has a website called Flipping the Barrel, which is an empowering podcast that sheds light on success stories in the energy sector. The movement behind it aims to enlighten the younger generation and drive the industry forward. “A Woman’s Perspective in Oil & Gas – Empowering podcast, sharing the untold stories of Energy,” is the motto of this movement that, perhaps, can be learnt from and pave the way to empower women through other unconventional means of communications such as podcasts.