11% increase in global GDP if every country worked on gender gap: Women leaders @PETROTECH-2016

December 04, 2016; New Delhi: With a view to accelerate efforts to empower women in the oil & gas sector, a pre-conference to PETROTECH-2016 was organised today at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi. The theme of the conference was 'Women in Oil & Gas Sector: Emerging Trends' (empowerment beyond biases and barriers).
Women representation on the board level of companies is about 11% in Asian firms, much lower in Indian context. In India we witness maximum women leadership in the financial and technological sector. Various studies mention that at the global front there is around 34% participation by women at the entry level, however, this percentage reduces drastically to merely 13% at the board level. Though much is being talked about gender disparity not only in the oil & gas sector but across sectors, the need of the hour is to recognise competence and potential of women workforce , skill development, political, economic, social transformation, access to and control over capital, credit and other resources, technology and training which would enable women to contribute more towards the growth and development of the industry as well as to the nation at large.
The conference organised, witnessed participation from women professionals, senior HR functionaries working in energy-based organisations and allied manufacturing sectors partnering the Indian Oil & Gas sector, representation from academia and women leaders across the globe.
Addressed by eminent speakers like Ms. Rebecca Liebert, President & CEO, Honeywell UOP, Dr. Reena Ramchandran, Former CMD, Hindustan Organic Chemicals and the first women CMD in Public Sector Enterprise , Ms. Kathleen Dorey, Managing Partner, Petrel Robertson Consulting Ltd., Canada, Dr. Asha Bhandarkar, Professor International Management Institute, New Delhi and Ms. Mekala Krishnan, Partner Mckinsey Global Institute; the conference addressed critical issues pertaining to the potential of emerging leadership of women in leadership roles in professional realm. The session was moderated by Dr. Debashis Chatterjee, Dean of International Relations and distinguished professor at Indian Institute of Management, Lucknow.
Being an industry veteran and the first women CEO in India, Dr. Reena Ramachandran talked about the prime role of energy sector in economic growth of a nation. In the domestic context, she said that India is on a growth path and involvement of women is the key to make it happen. Adding to the same, she mentioned about the need to have well intended policies, executed with passion to encourage women participation. However, she advised women to be pro-active and exhibit competence to manage themselves, their relationships and their communication.
Sharing her evidence-based study on ‘Power of Parity and Women in Workplace’, Ms. Krishnan mentioned that women contribute much less than their potential to the global GDP. While the figures stand at 37% at the global level, it is only 17% in India. Although 24% of India’s workforce comprises of women, unpaid work done by women in India stands largely unrecognised and unaccounted. She further added that tapping the potential of women workforce is an opportunity that countries looking for inclusive growth cannot afford to miss. She emphasised that tackling the issue of global gender gap at work is worth a lot, as tapping full potential of women would contribute USD 28 trillion to global GDP. She also added that companies with diverse leadership are 15% more likely to outperform their counterparts.
Ms. Mekala Krishnan also stressed upon the fine distinction between sponsorship and mentorship to enable women achieve leadership roles in business. In consensus with Ms. Krishnan, Dr. Asha Bhandarkar pointed out the absence of strategy to attract women workforce in oil & gas sector. She added that strategies require implementation at both individual as well as organisational level. She called for establishment of an ecosystem that supports and encourages leadership roles for women.
Talking about the role of the management, she suggested that organisations need to practice a holistic approach beginning with recruitment, mentorship, training, development and retention of women employees with a clear vision.
On her maiden visit to India, Ms. Kathleen Dorey spoke about the best practices for companies to improve gender balance. She suggested that women need to carve out their own path through efforts establishing a reputation for the work they do in the industry. She added that women need to work hard and believe in themselves. They must show the willingness to learn and fail and should not be averse to taking risks. She advised the management to tap young women professionals, nurture their talent and prepare them to take up challenging leadership roles.
The session chair, Ms. Rebeca Liebert called for the need to set a clear vision, think big, have goals and a contingency plan to achieve leadership positions. She mentioned that leadership roles come with responsibilities and a leader needs to be realistic and recognise the team. She added that women leaders need to act as role models for young female workforce. Though network and sponsorships are enablers that allow women to contribute better to work and assume leadership, women themselves need to strive for their success.
Summing up the session, Dr. Debashis Chatterjee said, “Women need to put forth the tangible aspects of leadership to fructify their aspirations and realise their dreams”. He mentioned that one of the key take-aways from the session is to recognise the need to engage untapped potential of women workforce by understanding the talent pool.
The discussions in the forum were appreciated by the packed house comprising of women leaders and executives from a diverse diaspora of industry, academia, policy makers, board members from oil & gas PSUs and knowledge think tanks.