The presence of female speakers at one of the world’s biggest gatherings of oil traders increased sharply this year.
One in about five of the speakers at the annual Asia Pacific Petroleum Conference last week in Singapore was female, more than double the representation last year, according to organizer S&P Global Platts. The actual number of women on the podium also rose at the event that boasted more than 500 experts and leaders from trading houses to refiners to banks.
“We are starting to make progress,’’ said S&P Global Platts spokesman Arnaud Humblot. “There is definitely positive momentum, but there is still big room for improvement.”
While gender diversity among speakers improved significantly this year, it’s still reflective of female under-representation in the broader oil and gas industry. Women account for just 22 percent of the global workforce in oil and gas, significantly less than almost any other sector, according to Boston Consulting Group. In Asia, none of the top 30 Asian energy companies on the MSCI Asia Pacific Energy Index are led by a woman, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
Janet Kong who heads BP Plc’s Asia trading business and was one of the speakers at APPEC stressed the importance of support and awareness of more flexibility for women, “not necessarily in workload but more in how we do jobs.’’
“Now you see a bit more,” she said in an interview. “It’s coming.’’