Spotlight on Women in STEM

Melanie Cook Ex-President & CEO - ExxonMobil Indonesia

Female under-representation in the Oil and Gas industry is a deeply endemic problem.”

Since I started my professional STEM career in the late 1990s, the industry has been in catch up mode around representation of women in the Oil and Gas industry, especially in drilling and wells. Some of this has been around attracting women to the sector, and in the early days there was a lack lustre approach in women feeling included - such as the choice of activity and venue for team- building events. Championing diversity has become a quality that matters for senior leaders. I've always challenged the status quo, encouraging hiring managers to embrace differences and questioning leadership when diverse candidates were overlooked. It's crucial for Senior Leadership Teams to mirror the diversity we aspire to achieve within our organisations. Whilst I firmly believe that female leaders have a responsibility to hold the door for other women to walk through, it is as important that male allies sponsor the closing of this gap. I have personally benefitted from female role models who have helped me see what I can be as well as the authentic support and belief that

leaders of all genders have had in me. For example, career opportunities were offered to me when I had a young family and/or was working part time when conventional wisdom might have been 'it's not the right time given her personal situation'. I was grateful for the choice, even if the decision was 'not now'. That's truly what gender equality allyship looks like for me. Now, I try to offer the same to mantra is 'Don't assume, ask!'



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