Managing Director of the Lagos Deep Offshore Logistics base (LADOL), Dr. Amy Jadesimi has called on government at all levels to evolve policies that would encourage more participation of women in the nations vast maritime and the oil and gas sectors.
Jadesimi stated this in a keynote address at the annual conference of the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE), held in Lagos.
Delivering her address which centred on “Exploring Opportunities for Female Entrepreneurs in the Oil and Gas Sector-Now is the Time”, the LADOL boss noted that the role of women in nations’ building globally has become paramount, hence government should step up in encouraging more of the women folks in critical ventures.
She noted specifically that the level of women involvement in the maritime as well as the oil and gas sector has been very significant, despite the low level of participation compared to the apparent dominance by the male counterparts.
According to her, “Women have contributed to the development of the sector in very significant ways which is disproportionate to their representation. They (women) are poorly represented, but the few ones around have distinguished themselves.”
She pointed out that government could leverage on the encouraging performance of the few ones in the sector by evolving deliberate policies and programmes that could encourage the advent of more women in the critical sector and beyond.
“First of all, Government needs to highlight the importance of women in the society in general. One way government can do this is to focus more on women empowerment programmes for sustainable development.
“In addition to that, government can encourage companies that have diversities and even going so far as to have tax rates…even going so far as to have scholarships and sponsorships for women in certain critical areas of economic importance that are focused on nation building.
“Women education is very important at the same time; government can encourage that institution to enable women to be educated. You need to make sure that you do not fund organizations that discriminate against women in any form” she added.
She further called on government to similarly find ways of encouraging some specific organizations and institutions financially, to educate women and promote them into leadership positions in order to check the apparent “male dominance in the board rooms.
“Take for instance, you have a number of women in high places in Shell Company and several others, but by the time you get to the very top at the boardrooms, you find that they account for less than 10 per-cents,”she said.
The LADOL boss noted earlier in her address that the time was now for women to rise up to the challenge of breaking what she called, “the glass ceiling’ by rising up to take on positions of authority at all levels of corporate and governance.
Alluding to the emergence of another female Prime Minister in Britain, Theresa May, 26 years after the Margaret Thatcher, she said the world may soon witness another “shocker” given the popular optimism that Hillary Clinton may emerge as the first female President of the United States of America (USA).
“It is still enormously important to widely publicize and celebrate women (that are) ‘breaking the glass ceilings’ especially on the global stage because it effects and inspires so many lives. However, I think we now need to focus attention on the next step-making it easier for more women to get to the top.
“If the price of women for entry into the higher echelons of government and Fortune 500 Boardrooms is that we need to excel to the point of being superhuman, it is no wonder it takes a quarter of a century for each one of us to breakthrough,” she said.