Ready to lead

Four women employees share their reflections about the challenges of being a woman in the industry, how to close the gender gap, and the cultural changes redefining the road towards equality.

Projects to reduce CO2 emissions at the El Tordillo oilfield. A warehouse management system that tracks stock in real time using mobile technologies. The first major inspection at Gas Turbine #2 at the Pesquería Power Plant (CEP for its initials in Spanish). What do all these milestones have in common? They’re all headed up by women.

During International Women's Month, we spoke with four employees about their professional careers, reviewing their experiences in dealing with the gender gap and analyzing how the industry is changing its outlook: Silvina Abad, Vice President IT; Vilma Bettini, Chief Audit Executive; Angie Manrique, Facilities Engineer, and Alma Rivera, Operations Specialist.

Vilma Bettini, a voice with 30 years of experience, in the company’s Buenos Aires offices.-

Leading the way

In a sector historically dominated by men, women often have a hard time overcoming stereotypes and prejudices. For some, these biases are character-building, while for others, they’re learning experiences.

“I studied Systems in the ‘80s at the Faculty of Engineering, where we women were clearly in a minority,” recalls Vilma Bettini. “We had to present our practical projects before our teachers and classmates, defending our ideas and arguments. That was tremendously helpful in contributing to my experience before going on to work in the industry.”

Silvina Abad remembers her initial discomfort and the lessons she learned from being treated differently at the outset of her career: “In one workplace, they decided not to offer me a position because I was a woman. That what was motivated me to push for change and it was also a formative experience: if there’s an opportunity and I think it’s right for someone, it doesn’t matter whether they’re a man or a woman, it’s about being the right fit.”

Luckily, today the perspective in the sector is quite different. Although there’s still some way to go, the +d program and the company’s other initiatives to attract more talented young women with university degrees and technical training are helping to balance out roles.

Angie Manrique challenges stereotypes in field work.-

A future built by women

At Tecpetrol, we’re very proud to say that 50% of our juniors are women. Women who tomorrow may be managers, directors, and leaders. What skills will they need to overcome the challenges in this industry? What advice would you give them?

From Mexico, Alma Rivera responds with some tips: "Time management is a priority. Being able to analyze and plan skillfully is critical to achieving objectives. You should always prioritize learning opportunities and work hard."

Vilma Bettini adds another must-do for effective leadership: "We don't need to know everything beforehand, but rather know how to rely on the team, and have the humility to seek help from those with more experience," she shares.

Finding the right balance between personal and professional life is also key. Angie Manrique speaks with admiration of those colleagues throughout her career who managed to achieve that balance and encourages others to do the same: “It’s our responsibility to help close the gaps, preparing ourselves more technically, and demonstrating knowledge, professionalism, passion and love for what we do. Gender is not a definition of either your talent or your standard of professional excellence.”

Constant panning and learning, two pillars of Alma Rivera’s daily work.-

Finally, Silvina Abad recalls the first steps she took as she looks forward to the role that women will play in the future of the industry. “When I started work, the general idea was that women should be similar to men and compete on equal terms. So I used to look at the results of the Sunday football matches as part of my preparation for the Monday morning meetings! Today, women are spearheading progress in this exciting industry which has so many challenges on the path to the energy transition. And it’s great to be playing such an active role on that journey,” she says, just as she used to in those Monday meetings, but this time about a far more important match, where women have so much going for them in their bid to level the playing field.

Silvina Abad giving a presentation about the challenges facing the IT team.-

Experience at Fortín de Piedra

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