Nigeria is one of the African states rich in oil and gas reserves. However, the ignorance and the challenges associated with oil have prompted the growing stereotypes on the energy sector. As such, energy professionals in the West African state have urged women to defy cultural constraints and embrace more of the oil and gas sector, noting that women account for the majority of the country’s entrepreneurs.
The announcement was made at the Abuja 2021 International Petroleum Summit, a gathering of the country’s oil and gas players. The sector accounts for around 10 percent of the country’s GDP and 95 percent of its oil exports.
Unawareness Contributes to Fewer Women in the Energy Sector
According to Tosin Sodeinde, treasurer of the Commonwealth Business Network, there are prospects in this industry but women must stretch themselves a little more than men.
She also added that since originally the field was male-dominated, there were not many women. However, since times are changing, she believes women will soon flood the energy industry.
“But landscapes are changing, and with a platform like this, an organization that encourages women, and with government interest and engagement, I am optimistic that more will start closing in,” stated Tosin.
Chidinma Obi, Chief Executive Officer of Dindu Nergy Limited, emphasized that Commonwealth Business Network also focuses on other women who want to work in the oil and gas industry, providing them with the information they need to succeed.
“It’s not that there aren’t enough women in the industry; it’s just that there hasn’t been enough awareness about women in oil and gas, which is what we’ve been trying to achieve with CWBN right now. Women are present, but they haven’t been highlighted to show where they are and what they’re doing,” she explained.
Dolapo Okulaja-Kotun, Chief Executive Officer, Jade Project, states that for the longest time, oil and gas have always been male-dominated industries. And this is because many women do not pursue careers in science and technology, especially as such courses are perceived to be technical and demanding.
She also added that the energy sector not only comprises the technical side but rather has a diverse range of opportunities. For instance, women can enroll in the non-technical sides, which include business administration, human capital resource managers, finance, and law.
CBWN Promotes Women Empowerment
The Commonwealth Businesswomen’s Network (CBWN) is the only accredited organization dedicated to women’s economic empowerment, with 54 governments supporting it. The organization is optimistic that the energy sector will soon have an equal number of females represented as males. After all, the world today has developed into a place where both women and men can work in any industry. It is just a matter of time.
The Charter of the Commonwealth (2013), signed by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, Head of the Commonwealth, on Commonwealth Day 2013, and endorsed by ‘Commonwealth Heads of Government during Australia’s term as Chair-in-Office, is a National Leadership Ground Associate for Nigeria.
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