‘Mentorship Will Reduce Gender Gap in Oil Sector’

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Bennett Oghifo
The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Merciport Resources Limited, Mrs. Rita Adachukwu James, has advised women to mentor and assist their peers and younger ones who aspire to work and do business in the industry.

She said this while speaking at the recently organised workshop on Mainstreaming Women in the Oil and Gas Industry convened by the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) in Lagos.

James, advocated for affirmative action especially with regards to awarding of contracts and positions where there were qualified women and men.
She, noted however, that there should be a deliberate action to include more qualified women so as to even out the imbalances in the sector.
She expressed belief that empowering women would be beneficial to all, adding that women are economic assets.
According to her, “a woman empowered is a community empowered.”

Narrating her personal experiences, James spoke about the glass ceilings she had to break doing business in a male-dominated downstream market especially when it came to handling male debtors who would want to intimidate her. She noted that right from her days as an employee in the industry, she made up her mind to succeed even though she didn’t have a mentor in those early days and she also did not have the necessary connections or capital.

According to her, she saw the benefits of mentors, having met some women in the course of her growth in the business who have mentored and supported her greatly.

The CEO noted that setting up a business and having to deal with many issues most of her male counterparts did not face, she realised she would have benefited greatly from having a female mentor from the onset.

James facilitated the session on “Overcoming Barriers to Career Progression and Mentoring the Next Generation” at the conference which had captains and major stakeholders in the oil industry, that took place in Lagos.