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Gender Balance - Women Mean Business

3 Jul 2014

In the last few months there has been a very hot debate around the UK Government wanting to achieve 25% of company directors to be women by 2015. There is wide spread recognition that a combination of both male and female board members can bring a different dynamic and fresh perspectives to managing companies and strategic decision making.  Whilst a balance would be widely accepted by the majority of businesses, we must recognise that this challenge will not be achieved overnight.

Women Mean Business

The well-documented glass ceiling that many women need to break through to be able to proceed to the top of the career ladder arguably still exists. With this there is a growing understanding of the skills that women can bring to business, with an increasing number of men opting to become stay at home dads.

The above was the hot topic of the last "Women Mean Business" event organised by Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce. The main speaker, Ingrid Stewart, presented her own successful career and highlighted the benefits of managing a work-life balance, which she claims all women want.

Ingrid completed two degrees before she joined Deloitte, where she quickly became a manager. After being involved in Corporate Finance, she decided that this was her passion and she moved to Simmons & Co. to continue her personal development. After only few months in, she was promoted to Vice-President and became the first ever female corporate finance director. After successful acquisitions and leading Enermech to prosperity, they brought her in-house in 2012 as a Director to be responsible for mergers and acquisitions.

Ingrid’s talk mainly concentrated on how women can bring different perspective to the business and help it to grow. With that, they need to be supported by companies in their day to day life and ensure that they know where they are going. It is important for women to understand that, due to family commitments or a career break, their progression will never always be a ladder, but a kids playground, where you sometimes need to slide down to go back up again and climb to the top.

However, statistics presented by Oilcareers' Mark Guest show that women are still not equally spread through different roles in Oil and Gas industry. According to the recently-published eighth annual UK Continental Shelf (UKCS) demographics report, there is still a minority of all offshore workers that are women – 3.6%, the lowest since the report was first commissioned in 2006.

Ingrid spoke about how women's perceptions and mindset can sometimes influence how far they go in their career. Women need to support each other in the work place and with this support give all of their attention to work when they are there. She mentioned a very personal, but I think very interesting point, that women that work part-time on paper are still working full-time hours, as they cannot get away from their emails and phone when they are at home. Ingrid said that the key to her career and personal success lies in ability to leave your personal life the minute you walk into the office and leave work the minute you walk into your home.

Please share your thoughts in the comment section below. Thank you.

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