By Michael Eboh & Gabriel Ewepu
Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen, has challenged women in the Nigerian oil and gas industry to strive towards the effective discharge of their duties to ensure they remain relevant and make meaningful impact in the industry.
Speaking at the fourth Women in Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) National Conference (WIPCON), in Abuja, Tallen said the ministry is willing to partner with the association to empower women, allowing them to participate in the growth and development of the oil and gas and the nation in general.
Tallen, who was represented by her Special Adviser, Ms Jumai Idonije, stated that women played a significant role in the development of the Nigerian economy and are making critical impact in the oil and gas industry.
She explained that PENGASSAN remained a group that the Ministry would partner with in pursuing the course of women in the country.
“I appeal to the President of PENGASSAN to understand that women are their partners, support effort to curb inequality and push for sustainable development. I want to see where and when women will take all the position in PENGASSAN.”
Also speaking, National President of PENGASSAN, Comrade Michael Ohaeri, disclosed that women must be ready and prepare for roles in leadership position.
To achieve this, he said women must be committed and capable of taking advantage of available opportunities.
He assured that PENGASSAN would create the right framework for women to continue to participate effectively in the oil and gas sector.
He said, “Women must demonstrate that they are capable of holding positions, not because they are women but because they are competent.
He further lamented that it was unfortunate that Nigeria was yet to reach the 40 per cent women participation and inclusiveness in all spheres of organizations.
This, he said suggested that impediments to women advancement are more complex and elusive than deliberate forms of sexual discrimination or family responsibility.
According to him, the reason the country had not attained this required percentage for women participation was mainly because most businesses had failed to close the gender gap at senior level of management.
He also called on organisations to adopt policies prohibiting sexual discrimination and promoting family friendly practices.
“Today it is no longer uncommon to see women run businesses, even in the biggest corporations or holds titles in the upper ranks of management,” he said.
Also speaking, Mrs Roselyn Wilkie, Assistant Director, Services/Acting Head, Corporate Services, Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, stated that women must speak out and not be shy in whatever they are doing.
She advised women especially in the oil and gas sector to position themselves for leadership position by getting proper education, skills and exposure required in the job.