Women in Energy Network (WIEN), has decried the exclusion of women in the newly reconstituted board of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), despite there being many female executives in the oil industry with the requite experience, skill and competence.
President of WIEN, Funmi Ogbue, who raised the concern in a statement, in Lagos, posited that it is instructive to note that even among the 2016 board members whose three-year term just expired, none of the six was a woman.
According to her, many national oil companies and even those in the most-conservative climes now understand the need to increase the number of women in leadership positions in the energy sector, while Nigeria is yet to effect such gesture in the nations’ oil sector.
Ogbue noted that in Nigeria, the share of women on boards or leadership of parastatals in the ministries of Petroleum and Power shows that the country’s energy sector is still ill-positioned to reap the gains that diversity can bring.
She said several types of research have established that institutions with women in the boardroom tend to perform better than those that have less gender-diverse boards, stressing that it is critical for the government to deepen and diversify the oil and gas industry skills pool, and one way to do that is to bring in and retain more talented women.
“WIEN would like to bring to the President’s attention, its concerns that of the six members of the new NNPC board, none of them is a woman. For instance, Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest oil company recently appointed its first female board member, an appointment considered a milestone for Saudi Arabia, where custom in some cases limits women opportunities to work. In South America, two women make up Petrobras nine-member Executive Board, while in Europe, four of the eleven-member board of Equinor (Statoil), Norway’s state-owned multinational energy company, are women. Africa’s 2nd largest oil producer and Angola’s state oil company, Sonangol, has at least a female in its seven-member board of directors,” she said.
Ogbue continued: “We would like to call on the President to consider more women for promotion to leadership in the energy sector by appointing more women as heads of agencies, parastatals and institutions.“
WIEN, however, thanked the President for committing at several fora to ensure that more women are given opportunities within his government. This, WIEN stated, was evident in the number of high-profile female appointees in the current administration since the start of the first year in the second term of the administration.
Some of the notable appointments include Zainab Ahmed as Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning; Pauline Tallen, Women Affairs and Social Development; Sadiya Umar-Farouk, Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management; Minister of State for Transport, Senator Gbemisola Saraki; Sharon Ikeazu, Environment; Maryam Katagun, Industry, Trade and Investment, among others.