ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Bp is now the only major oil company to have more women on its executive team than men. It’s a first for the company, and bp doubled the number of women in its leadership team.
In late February, Anja-Isabel Dotzenrath, executive vice president, gas and low carbon energy, and Leigh-Ann Russell, executive vice president, innovation and engineering, joined bp’s executive leadership team, which now includes six women and five men.
Bp now wants to achieve gender parity among its 120 most senior leadership roles by 2025 and have women occupying 40% of roles in the next leadership level down, reports Fortune. No major oil company has had a female lead the organization, and the oil industry is under-represented by women at almost every level.
Boston Consulting Group found that 25% of entry-level positions in the oil and gas industry are filled by women. Of bp’s employees, 39% were women in 2020, according to its most recent gender pay gap report. By 2030 at the very latest, the company aims to have females in at least half of its 400 senior roles and 40% at every other level of the company.
According to Russell, to understand the lack of diversity at the top of the industry, it’s important to look at the bottom—education.
“I studied engineering at Aberdeen University,” Russell told Fortune, who after 16 years at BP will now head innovation and engineering. “I think there were three women in my class.”
Russell has been reaching out to universities to improve diversity.
“Going into universities, going into schools becomes a really important thing,” she said. “I get asked questions like: Can you be a mum and be an engineer? Well I’m a single mum.”
NACS offers a course designed specifically for women who want to individually, and collectively bolster their leadership abilities, reinvigorate their companies and expand their networks. The NACS Women’s Leadership Program at Yale University allows participants from retailer and supplier companies to exchange ideas with a peer group of experienced and emerging women leaders who face similar challenges in their professional lives.
The week-long program gives female leaders the opportunity to develop critical top team leadership skills, refine strategic perspective and decision making and understand and hone leadership style through feedback assessments. Leaders will also improve executive presence and leverage diversity to accelerate innovation, as well as learn to practice emotionally intelligent leadership.
This year’s program takes place November 13-18. Registration is open, and attendees must complete pre-work assignments prior to the onsite program, including soliciting feedback from peers. To meet the set deadlines, registration is scheduled to close on October 2, 2022.