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Lubna Al Qasimi: Women should be encouraged into more leadership positions in the energy sector

posted on 13/11/2014: 2609 views

Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi, U.A.E. Minister of International Cooperation and Development, yesterday said that women should be supported, encouraged and recognised for their abilities to make valuable contributions to the primarily male-dominated fields of science and engineering.

During a panel discussion about women in industry, which took place on the sidelines of the Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference, Sheikha Lubna noted that although women in the U.A.E. today face many fewer challenges to setting foot in the energy sector, more could be done to encourage and increase the number of women in leadership positions.

"When we compare the 1980's to today, we are talking about a totally different set of challenges. Today there are many women who are engineers. Women are getting hired, and I don't think there are a lot of issues. But what we face as a challenge is seeing more women in leadership positions, women being part of the board of directors or trustees of organisations, this is the challenge that we will push towards as we go through the years," the Minister said.

"The struggle for women is to really step up in a man's world of engineering. The challenge that we talk about today is where we want to reach as women leaders," she explained.

Other speakers included Vicki Hollu, President of Occidental Oil and GAS, Americas, Elisabeth Proust, CEO and Managing Director of Total, Nigeria, and Kathy Pepper, Vice President Middle East and Russia, ExxonMobil, all examples of women who have succeeded in carving their way through a male-dominated global industry to become top leaders in their own right.

The panellists agreed that more should be done to encourage and accommodate the needs of women in the industry, saying that organisations should recognise the added value that women can bring to the table.

"What companies are realising is that they need to get women into the industry, into their companies, because they are a great resource and to get women in the quantities that they need, they need to recognise that men and women are the same," said Kathy Pepper, who went on to say that the industry has come a long way in the last 30 years, and said she hopes to see a greater number of women take hold of management positions in the future.

"Women work in different ways than men, and we need to have a more diverse, more open, more flexible and accommodating workplace to facilitate equality and mutual respect based on merit," she added.

The panel stressed the importance of upholding a good work ethic, a positive attitude, passion and determination to help women break through the glass ceiling to excel in the energy or any other sector.

"We can all work hard and we can all have good energy, but there is always the question of who can be a leader, and who cannot," Sheikha Lubna said.

She continued, "It's all about delivery. You will stand-out in any organisation if you deliver, and that includes understanding the objectives and mission of the organisation you are working for.

"It's also about teamwork. It's never been about you, it's not about your ego, it's really all about creating an environment that can drive that organisation to a better level," she concluded. - Emirates News Agency, WAM –


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