Nearly 200 attendees from Japan’s oil industry and the GCC countries, with about 70% being female, recently gathered in Tokyo for the Friendship Committee for the Women Career Development Open Forum that was hosted by the Japan Cooperation Center, Petroleum (JCCP).
JCCP is an affiliated organization of Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry that promotes technical cooperation and personnel exchanges between Japan and oil-producing countries in the downstream sectors of the oil industry.
The event under the theme “Sustainable Growth in the Petroleum Industry and Women Leaders’ Business Innovation” provided an opportunity for Saudi Aramco to share its various initiatives in an effort to narrow the gender gap in the workforce through the commitment.
Saudi Aramco, in 2012, established a division dedicated to women’s development and diversity that has a mission to provide various programs that develop professional careers for women and help them build leadership skills to elevate them to higher positions in coming years.
As one of the guest speakers, Huda M. Al-Ghoson, Saudi Aramco executive director of Human Resources, delivered a leader’s speech, walking the audience through a number of initiatives that Saudi Aramco has been introducing to narrow the gender gap in the workforce. One such initiative is the STEM Pipeline. The program is designed to support development of women into science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subjects in the early years in schools and universities before they join the workforce via outreach programs. Al-Ghoson continued on to explain that Saudi Aramco today has five programs of different levels designed for female workers from the day she begins her career with the company, young, and junior as well as up to senior level workers.
She offered and presented the “5 Cs” — commitment, competence, collaboration, contribution and character, which she considers critical for women to improve, advance, and progress in the workforce. She expounded that these actually come from her own personal experience and that they helped and still help her in pursuit of rewarding work. “While the working environment for female workers needs to be addressed at an organizational level, it is the responsibility of women themselves, to be in the driver’s seat of their career. In other words, they should participate in the initiatives proactively to narrow the gender gap while supporting other women to achieve and succeed in their aspiration,” Al-Ghoson concluded.
Reaching the audience
Al-Ghoson fielded a number of questions, including one on how the company plans to share its experience with other energy companies in the GCC. She noted that Saudi Aramco is willing to open its doors to others for them to learn, possibly inviting people outside of the company to participate in some corporate programs.