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Shell’s Diversity and Inclusion Strategy Develops Women’s Role in the Oil & Gas Industry
For the first time in the GCC countries, Kuwait Shell in collaboration with the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) held the inaugural International Professionals in Energy Conference (IPEC) under the theme “Empowering Women’s Leadership” from 25 to 26 September. Shell outlined during the conference, that by providing equal opportunities and appreciating the diversity of ethnicity, age and gender, a working culture where differences are valued will be will created.
The conference addressed interesting topics focusing on the exciting opportunities as well as challenges for women to further their careers, especially in the oil and gas sector. It also profiled women’s success stories and experiences that proved that women are accomplished leaders holding key positions in their respective companies.
Shell had a major participation with speeches given by senior women leaders from the organization. Mrs. Clare Harris, Vice president of Gas Development from Shell Qatar, Mrs. Marietta Vroon, Manager of Reservoir Modeling from Shell International, and Mrs. Sana Bardawil, Manager of External Affairs for Middle East from Shell Dubai.
As part of Shell speaker’s presentations, women leaders spoke about the benefits of equality in the oil and gas industry and the challenges women face to develop their careers in the industry. They highlighted the positive role of the Shell Women’s Network, a voluntary internal initiative which helps to create forums to assist in the development and growth of female employees. This initiative has been very successful for Shell, and it is now operating in eight Shell locations around the world.
They also shed light on Shell’s global policy to encourage a more inclusive and balanced working environment to support the attraction and retention of women, as well as helping them reach senior management roles. An example of taking this step seriously is that Shell have designed the “Women Career Development Program” which is an internal training program that aims to help women take lead in planning a successful career path.
They also outlined the challenges that affect women’s evolvement in an organization, which included limited senior female role models, incorrect perceptions with regard to women’s roles and capabilities, assumptions about women’s abilities to overcome challenges between work and personal life, and the vital need for more developmental assignments for further career growth.
Speaking about Shell in Kuwait’s support for the conference, Mr. Ahmad Atallah, Chairman and Managing Director of Shell companies in Kuwait said, “Our decision to sponsor the first International Professionals in Energy Conference (IPEC) comes from our strong belief in diversity and inclusion. In order for Shell to face the challenge of securing energy for the future, we will need to work with a diverse team which represents various ethnicities, genders and backgrounds.
Active participation in this conference by several Shell female leaders from various disciplines is an important evidence of the effective and broad contribution women can make to the oil and gas business, if they are offered equal opportunities.”
Mr. Atallah concluded that “Shell embedded diversity and inclusion within its structure and processes to attract and develop the best and most innovative women and men who will contribute to Shell's future as a leader in delivering the best energy products and solutions to our partners and customers.”