From the film and music industry to politics, the topic of gender balance has never been hotter.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, a self-proclaimed feminist, presented the first-ever gender balanced cabinet last year, one he pointed out “looks like Canada”. His simple explanation, “because it’s 2015”, gained worldwide praise and has now become a mantra for the women’s movement.
So how is this key part of the diversity and inclusion (D&I) agenda progressing at Shell? Over the past three years, we’ve achieved a lot.
Because it’s 2016
“Our D&I numbers are getting stronger,” says VP D&I Graham Sparks. “Since 2013, female graduate recruitment has increased from 34% to 43%; the representation of senior women has gone from 16.2% to 19%; and female representation on the Shell board has risen from one to three, moving us to 35th position in the FTSE 100 ranking.”
Shell was recently named on the Times Top 50 Employers for Women in UK for the third year running. And once again we’re the only oil and gas company on the list.
Shell businesses have their own gender targets that are championed by senior leaders. They use the targets to maintain focus and drive to improve in this key area. Hundreds of women have been through the Women’s Career Development programme and Senior Women’s Connect programme.
Shell Women’s Networks have increased to 27, recently adding Indonesia, Pakistan and Iraq.
Shell’s actions in this space are positive, but are they enough? The short answer is no, says Graham. “While we’re making progress in what is traditionally seen as a male-dominated sector, we still have a long way to go to achieve true gender balance.”
So what more can we do?
At the recent Catalyst Awards, clothes retailer GAP was recognised for its Women and Opportunity initiative, which doesn’t specifically focus on women-only programmes, but is heavily orientated to a principle of building an inclusive workplace for all.
Graham joined other Shell business and employee network leaders at the event. He said: “GAP’s focus on a commitment to inclusive leadership really resonated with us because we increasingly believe that this is what will also help us in Shell, to move more quickly toward our goal of building a great place to work for all.”
Going forward, support for the targeted women’s career development programmes that we have in Shell will be continued, paired with building the skills and capabilities of supervisors to be truly inclusive team leaders.
“With inclusive leaders, everyone benefits, not just female team members, but all team members,” says Graham