The Professional Women Network recently held its second summit under the theme of “Gender Balance: Best Practices in the Oil Sector.” The event was attended by KPC CEO Nizar Al-Adsani, PIC DCEO Hosnia Hashim, KOC DCEO (NK) Badria Abdul Rahim, and Her Excellency Martine Moreau, the Canadian Ambassador to Kuwait. In addition, other representatives from International Oil Companies such as Fluor, Shell, Halliburton, Schlumberger and Baker Hughes International were also in attendance.
In his opening speech, Al-Adsani expressed his pride in supporting an initiative that aligns itself with KPC’s strategic directives which seek to empower women by supporting them in their effort to advance their careers.
“This summit is an important platform to promote the advancement of women in the oil industry and endorse the progress of the Kuwaiti oil sector,” he said. “We are very proud to support an initiative that aligns with KPC’s 2030 strategic direction and which aims to facilitate a culture that fosters a productive work environment.”
The KPC CEO also said that initiatives like PWN allow for the creation of a more collaborative atmosphere that helps KPC and its subsidiaries achieve a leading position in the global oil and gas industry. In particular, Al-Adsani singled out field facilities such as gathering centers, drilling rigs and gas booster stations, which have become more accommodating to female employees who are increasingly seeking positions in the field.
“As representatives of the oil industry in Kuwait, we are conscious of the fact that we are a natural role model for the country. Therefore, we strive to provide our employees with opportunities and present them with the right tools and support to enable outstanding performance. This summit is one of the great initiatives dedicated to achieving such a goal, and we hope that such platforms become a rite of passage into creating a more empowered workforce,” the KPC CEO concluded.
The PWN Founder’s Message
Hosnia Hashem, Professional Women Network founder and PIC DCEO, delivered her keynote speech after Nizar Al-Adsani’s opening remarks. In her speech, the PWN founder touched on a number of topics, which included the motivation behind PWN, its goals, and the challenges associated with fully integrating female professionals throughout the K-Companies.
The PWN founder began her speech by reminding the audience that the reason PWN was established was to promote professional growth of the female workforce, empower and integrate female professionals throughout all areas of work, and serve as a forum where female professionals could come together for the purposes of networking and support. In her speech, Hosnia Hashem also provided an overview and analysis of the female workforce in Kuwait’s oil sector.
“I would like to add that we have held more than 12 workshops over the years, six executive panels, two surveys, and one Town Hall session. In combination, these events have enabled PWN to steer efforts to where they were more needed: The enhancement of the work conditions of women in the K-companies and their own self-empowerment at work,” Hashem said.
“The advancement of women in the K-companies benefits from this awareness raised by PWN, and this year, we gladly welcomed the appointment of four female DMDs,” PIC DCEO Hosnia Hashim said, which was met with great applause. “The appointment of women for top leadership roles enable the availability of role models that inspire and motivate the young women in our workforce to reach to become the best they can be in managerial or technical roles.”
Maximizing Talent & Facing Challenges
Hosnia Hashem maintained that it was critical to dedicate resources to the progression of the female talent that exists throughout the K-Companies. Because about three quarters of women employed are in technical roles, it is imperative, she said, that they be provided with the technical support and training that is required to shape future leaders. On the issue of leadership distribution, Hashem also called for renewed efforts and progress to be made in the effort to appoint more females in leadership positions.
“A characteristic we share with all NOCs, and in particular to those within the GCC, is that we
have a young company profile, with the majority of our workforce below 35 years of age. The questions and challenges this brings to the leadership include the following:
• How do we motivate this new generation, the Millennials, to reach their best in the oil sector?
• What workflows, settings, and policies do we implement to ensure fair conditions for men and women in the workplace?
• How do we support women and dual-career couples to balance work/family?
• How do we engage with Kuwait at large to enable the participation of more and more women in activities related to the oil sector, as employees or entrepreneurs, in the public or private sector?
“The future of women in the oil industry is bright, and secured by the need we have of capturing all the talent available,” the PIC DCEO said. She then went on to say that it was pertinent to activate PWN’s actions for the advancement of women. “The natural evolution of PWN will bring more specific projects and activities, and I am very much looking forward to the moment when the actions and initiatives pertinent to diversity and inclusion have a formal framework in our corporate ecosystem.”
Hosnia Hashem concluded her speech by saying that the success of the summit and PWN would not have been possible without the support of the senior management throughout the K-Companies. In particular, Hashem commended the support displayed by KPC CEO Nizar Al-Adsani, whose backing was crucial to the development and success of PWN.
Message from the Canadian Ambassador
Her Excellency Martine Moreau, Canadian Ambassador to the State of Kuwait, delivered a presentation at the event which focused on best practices in diversity and inclusion in the oil sector. She also provided an overview of her country’s experience and the future goals her government aspires to accomplish by adopting legislation that supports women in the private and public sectors.
The Canadian Ambassador touched on a number of topics over the course of her presentation. She began by providing an overview of major accomplishments for women’s rights in Canada, including the year they were given the right to vote (1913) and the first year a female was elected to parliament (1921).
In terms of diversity and inclusion, H.E. Moreau posited the following question: Why should people care? For one, she said, it is a fundamental human right for women to enjoy the same privileges as men, and secondly, she maintained that women having equal rights simply made better economic sense.
The Canadian Ambassador went on to describe some of the challenges still facing women in Canada, particularly a wage gap that exists between men and women in the workforce and underrepresentation in the country’s parliament by women.
In terms of lessons learned from her time in government, the Canadian Ambassador cited the following:
• Commitment from senior management is critical.
• Diversity and inclusion are objectives in and of themselves.
• Accountability mechanisms are required.
• There is a need to recruit role models and young women with potential.
• The involvement and encouragement of men is also required.
Meanwhile, Badria Abdul Rahim thanked the K-Companies and IOCs for their organizational efforts and contributions which played a major role in the success of the summit.
It is worth mentioning that the summit featured an executive panel session where female representatives explained their personal and professional experiences. The executive panel session was accompanied by other sessions that featured the participation of the audience.