International Women’s Day 2023
On International Women's Day, we celebrate the meaningful impact and innumerable contributions of women. Though we have made progress towards gender equality, diversity, and inclusion, many regions still lack fair representation for women.
We recognise that within our industry, there is a gender imbalance. It is our commitment to continue to work towards creating a diverse and equitable workforce. We are honoured to have a number of amazing and talented women working with us at BW Offshore in our organisation.
This year, in light of International Women’s Day, we spoke to three women in our organisation, and thought we would take the time to highlight how they have made an impact in their different fields.
Current Position: General Manager
Location: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
History with BW Offshore: Larissa joined BW Offshore as a Commercial Manager in 2018 after spending 12 years working for a drilling company in Brazil. She is currently working as the General Manager for Brazil.
Current Position: Senior Project Engineer
History with BW Offshore: Ruth first joined BW Offshore in 2014 as an Installation Engineer working on maintenance projects, replacing mooring system components. Since then, she has worked with shipyard integration and offshore hookup preparations for BW Catcher. She has worked with the Operational Integrity team on environmental management and regulatory compliance, which allowed her to learn beyond engineering.
Current Position: Graduate Engineer
History with BW Offshore: Tanya joined BW Offshore as part of our Graduate Programme in 2020 as a Mechanical Engineer specialising in Rotating Equipment Package Management. Tanya said, ‘the opportunity to work on such an intensive and massive project from the early stages with highly technical people, has been crucial in developing my core engineering expertise.’
Question: Why is gender diversity important?
Ruth: 'We witness that those societies who embrace gender diversity thrive. They thrive because they're utilising the strengths of all members to their maximum potentials. Diversity challenges our established norms and values, and in turn help us adapt to change and develop better ways of functioning.'
Tanya: 'It promotes fairness and equal opportunities for all genders and helps to create a more inclusive and productive working environment. When people from all genders are represented in the workplace, it sends a message that everyone is valued and has a welcomed seat at the table.'
Larissa: 'There are several reasons to why gender diversity is important. It reflects society and this in itself should be a good reason to work towards equality; men and women have different perspectives and experiences, and this usually brings benefits to any company in several areas including productivity, profitability and innovation among others. To have more women in leadership roles is the only way to achieve the goal of a more equal and diverse business environment.'
BW Offshore champions employees to take ownership of their careers and pursue their interests within the company, which has enabled me to voice out my opinions more freely and speak confidently as a woman.Tanja Puri, Graduate Engineer
Question: How has BW Offshore supported you in your career path?
Ruth: 'BW Offshore has always been supportive whenever I have expressed interest in growing my career or exploring different roles. Leaders have always been open to dialogue, which sets up a trusting platform to express career aspirations, concerns and gain valuable feedback.'
Tanya: 'By creating a workplace which places great value on diversity and inclusion, the company builds a welcoming and nurturing environment for all employees. Additionally, BW Offshore champions employees to take ownership of their careers and pursue their interests within the company, which has enabled me to voice out my opinions more freely and speak confidently as a woman.'
Larissa: 'In 2018, I joined BW Offshore as Commercial Manager in Brazil overseeing the operations of FPSO BW Cidade de São Vicente and FPSO Polvo. The management team provided a lot of support and guidance, trusting me to grow within the organisation, and in 2022 I became BW Offshore’s Brazil General Manager with the goal to rebuild the company’s footprint in Brazil.'
Question: What has been your greatest accomplishment(s)?
Ruth: 'Personally, it would be being selected to compete in the 2000 Olympics in football.'
Tanya: 'I got the opportunity to travel overseas independently for Vendor Package Factory Acceptance Tests (FATs). As a female Mechanical Engineer, I often find myself being the only woman in the group. During this trip, I got the chance to take lead and spearhead a team of mainly male engineers, while successfully representing BW Offshore as a client, and resolve challenging hands-on technical issues in the factory.'
Larissa: 'My greatest achievements with the company would be the startup of BW Energy in Brazil, the successful management of two units and their contracts during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Even considering these accomplishments, what I am most proud of is to be leading BW Offshore back to Brazil’s FPSO market, for which I have worked very hard for the past few years. I strongly believe that Brazil will have a relevant role in BW Offshore’s future.'
Question: Why is it important to have more women in leadership?
Ruth: 'Representation at leadership level is critical. Increasing the representation of women in leadership roles provides the opportunity to express alternative perspectives at the decision-making level. Leadership is where the greatest influence over how we collectively define our guiding principles and operation is.'
Tanya: 'Having women in leadership sets the tone for the company’s growth, where we can be a role model for future generations of women. It will inspire others to pursue leadership roles in male-dominated industries (such as Oil and Gas) and promote greater equality. I believe having a balance of genders at the management level will improve decision-making processes.'
Larissa: 'There are several reasons why having more women in leadership is important: gender diversity reflects society and should be a good reason in itself to work towards equality; men and women have different perspectives and experiences, benefitting companies in several areas including productivity, profitability and innovation among others. To have more women in leadership roles is the only way to achieve the goal of a more equal and diverse business environment.'
Women and men have the same intellectual capacity so they should have equal access to job opportunities. Within the Oil and Gas industry, I don’t believe that men and women have equal opportunities yet, but in BW Offshore, we are working hard towards enabling a more balanced environment.
Larissa Sigiliano, General Manager Brazil
Question: What do you think are some of the biggest challenges facing women in the workplace today?
Ruth: 'I think a root issue is access to education. I am grateful having grown up in a setting where there was a pathway to the workplace. My parents had reservations when I enrolled in the ‘unconventional’ field of engineering, but this wasn’t a hard barrier. I have been fortunate enough to have the freedom to choose an education in a field I found interesting and that enabled me to embark on a satisfying career. That is not the same experience in many parts of the world today where gender-based suppression of education exists. In my view, the greatest leap forward occurs when a society sees the value in educating females and facilitates their learning. Recognising the right to an education implies an acceptance that those educated women also belong in the workforce.'
Tanya: 'Some major challenges are gender bias and discrimination, in terms of hiring, promotion, opportunities for advancement etc. Although I do not find this prevalent in BW Offshore, I am aware of its prominence in other engineering companies. Sometimes, it may be easier for the male engineers to develop their technical competency through greater opportunities, due to the traditional mindset of “It’s a Man’s Job”, whereas female engineers find themselves struggling more to reach the same level of expertise and experience. I also feel that balancing work and family responsibilities is a big challenge for many women in the workplace, as they are more predisposed to take on caregiving roles at home. Hence, balancing work stress and household duties may be a difficult path for some, especially where there is a lack of maternity support from the company.'
Larissa: 'I believe that the challenges women face in the workplace varies a lot from location to location. In Brazil, I would say that the biggest challenge is to overcome the cultural barriers of what is perceived as male-driven professions versus female ones.'
In my view, the greatest leap forward occurs when a society sees the value in educating females and facilitates their learning. Recognising the right to an education implies an acceptance that those educated women also belong in the workforce.Ruth Jago, Senior Project Engineer
Question: Why is it important to have more women working in the Oil and Gas industry? Do you feel there are equal opportunities for both men and women?
Ruth: 'Women who have a passion to work in the industry are just as capable contributors as their male counterparts. Beyond important, it is common sense to make available opportunities for women who want to work within Oil and Gas. A larger talent pool will only be beneficial and particularly in the present day, with public perceptions of the fossil fuel industry putting added limitations towards attracting talent. Gender inequality does exist to varying degrees across different cultures, regions, industries and companies. In certain circumstances, gender parity has been achieved, but there are also many instances of inequality. Promoting equal opportunities is a common responsibility we should all remain mindful of, because discrimination, of any form, doesn’t benefit society.'
Tanya: 'I am a strong supporter of having more women in the industry, who can be role models for future generations of women, and encourage them to pursue rewarding careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) fields. This would improve gender imbalance and promote an inclusive workforce.
In BW Offshore, there are more equal opportunities for both men and women, in my experience. In fact, the company openly welcomes female employees, which helps to create a more diverse environment, by showcasing examples of strong women in leadership and portraying a workplace with equal opportunities.'
Larissa: 'Women and men have the same intellectual capacity so they should have equal access to job opportunities. Within the Oil and Gas industry, I don’t believe that men and women have equal opportunities yet, but in BW Offshore, we are working hard towards enabling a more balanced environment.'
At BW Offshore, we value diversity, and strive to eliminate gender bias. In 2022, 55% of permanent onshore joiners were female, and we work actively to ensure our recruitment processes are without gender bias - both conscious and unconscious. We provide equal opportunities for all our employees, and I personally believe increasing the number of women in our workforce helps us grow as an organisation. Our industry still has a clear overweighting of male employees, and by developing and promoting women, BW Offshore aim to help close this gender gap."Marco Beenen, CEO