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Oil and Gas, an industry where women can thrive!

A couple of words from our leader here at Onward, Nina Spencer, on International Women’s Day.

Women deserve to be celebrated, in and out of the workplace, but when I think about being a woman in oil and gas, running a company, I have a whole lot of men to thank.

Every boss I have ever had was a man, every raise and promotion I was ever given was awarded by a man. I surround myself with strong women in my personal life, engineers, businesswomen, mothers, but I have had more adversarial women in the workplace than I have had men.  Early in my career, despite having an ‘office’ position Mike Vangemert was the person that pushed me to get my water survival, and a plethora of other training, despite the skepticism of women. 

The all-male group of superintendents and managers at Anadarko, Todd Durkee and Pat Watson, supported me running projects, and facilitated my interest in going offshore. Most of our clients are men and knowingly choose a female run team. Many request that I audit their facility myself- knowing that they may have to take extra steps to accommodate me, like giving up extra bed space offshore.

Onward is a male founded company, which has a woman running it. Autie Mcvicker is an example of someone who has believed, supported, pushed, and chosen a woman when perhaps, other managers would have viewed a man as an easier choice in this male driven industry.

This is not a terribly novel idea, but I believe women should be encouraged in the same manner men are encouraged. They should receive promotions and opportunities like men. They shouldn’t be passed over or favored because they are a woman. I think we should encourage and support more women in traditionally ‘male’ industries. I believe we will then see a more equal representation of men and women. But what is better for the development of women, a woman at the top who supports women or a man at the top who supports women? In the spirit of true equality, is there really a difference?  

I have had experiences where I was treated with both rippling undertones and giant waves of misogyny. But I believe that has less to do with the industry I am in and more about those people as individuals. There is a level of prejudice in most industries, not just the male dominated ones and like anything, meaningful change happens from within. It’s not just going to come from women promoting women but it also going to come from celebrating the men who recognize talent over gender. 

Happy international women’s day and thank you to all who have given women the opportunities to progress in their careers!