As part of our Women’s Energy Council, we are conducting interviews with our members to find out what their experiences are of working in the energy sector.
We sat down with Monica Rovers, here are her thoughts.
Do you believe that it is harder to have a career in the energy sector as a woman?
I have been fortunate not to experience it being difficult but I believe that is due to my role in the sector. It seems to be more common to see women in Business Development and Relationship Management roles. I have not felt limited since my work in the Energy sector has been in these areas and on the cusp of the sector rather than in a technical role within an Energy company. I know many women in senior and technical roles who have done very well but I have also heard a lot of stories from women who have many challenges in the sector and are not able to move into more senior roles.
What obstacle/s did you come across in your career?
I have worked in environments where male colleagues socialize with each other and do not include female colleagues. They are creating relationships during these times that women are not privy to, thus limiting our ability to fully participate.
What can men do to help?
I believe that most men do not intentionally exclude women and are unaware of how challenging it can be for women to succeed in the sector. Just having them become aware of the challenges and treat women with the same level of respect and inclusion as their male colleagues will go a long way. It often just takes one person to do it first and others will follow.
What can women do?
I have witnessed a number of women who have a self-deprecating style of speaking and that does them a dis-service. Men are often more comfortable with self-promotion and showing confidence and we women need to do the same.
It is also important for women to lift up other women and provide them with opportunities. For example, I belong to an informal group of senior women in the Energy sector and we get together for dinners and other activities. During these dinners there are always conversations about letting others know about opportunities through our other networks that they may not have heard about.
If you could give one piece of advice to young women who are looking to work in the energy industry, what would it be?
I have always believed that things will go well for you if you know what you’re doing and you do it well. Unfortunately, it is not always so simple, you need to make yourself known to others and always be networking with others, this seems even more important for women to do.
Self-confidence is key to being successful in any role or sector and is crucial to success in a male-dominated industry. I have spent years presenting at Energy conferences and I was always told that my straight-forward, no-nonsense style of presenting was greatly appreciated and respected.
I just joined a more formal group of 5 women who all have our own consulting businesses and we are now collaborating on projects since we each have a different skillset. We will still be running our own businesses but will pull others in for projects when needed, this is a great example of helping other women. Look for these opportunities to collaborate with others, collaboration is a strength at which most women excel, it is a great advantage.
How much do you feel the situation for women in energy has changed over the last 10 years?
I do not feel that it has changed much in the last 10 years, unfortunately. During these last few years of layoffs during the downturn, I have heard of companies laying off more women first.
About Women’s Energy Council
Women’s Energy Council is the most international diversity and equality network for energy executives in the world. It actively promotes and advises on tangible, positive and commercially beneficial changes in the energy industry through bias awareness, policy education and safety at work.
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