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Breaking the mould

Release date:
6 March 2020
How do we achieve equality both in and outside the workplace? Answering that question ahead of International Women’s Day are BP employees, many of whom hold traditionally male-dominated roles

The energy sector has traditionally had a gender imbalance, with significantly more men than women in professions like engineering. This is something BP has been working to address over a number of years by promoting diversity and inclusion initiatives across the organization. 

Overall, the proportion of women employed across BP is higher than ever before; accounting for 38% of our workforce in 2019, up from 35% in 2018. There are improvements in areas of the company where women have previously been underrepresented, and women are leading some of our core businesses, such as petrochemicals, shipping and treasury, as well as holding positions as regional heads in a number of countries, including Canada, China, Mexico and the US.


At graduate entry level, our intake is almost balanced now, with 44% women and 55% men. 

However, there’s more work to be done to increase the number of senior female leaders. To this end, sponsorship and mentoring initiatives are under way to help  support our leadership talent pipeline.

Our diversity and inclusion data is reported annually in our Sustainability Report – check back for the latest stats when the 2019 report is published later this month. To meet UK regulations, we also report our gender pay gap data – our 2019 report will also be published this month.

Until then, hear from women on the frontline of our industry as they reflect on the road to greater equality and fairness.

Ana Zabala, process engineer, GOO


“To achieve equality, I believe that everyone should have the same opportunities to fulfil their aspirations, regardless of background, race, gender, religious beliefs, disability or sexual orientation, while providing the right support to enable people to be the best version of themselves, and with success and progression based on merit always.”

Ghadir Siyam, appraisal engineer, global concept development


“As a parent of twins (boy and girl), I truly believe that in order to achieve equality, we need to start early and raise a generation that removes barriers and embraces the different perspectives women and men can bring.” 

Rhia Dhanda, construction engineer


“Society is making a conscious effort to increase diversity and inclusivity; however, we need to improve how we communicate the gender imbalance. I think we need to remove the perception that equality is a numbers game and teach others about the benefits that an equal society can bring.” 

Leah Regel, subsea controls engineer


“As a society, we need to stop making assumptions about people’s abilities, desires or aspirations. Until it is the norm to believe that a girl can become an engineer as much as a boy, there will still be stereotypes and biases to be challenged.” 

Jackie Rothwell, development engineer


“Equality stems from having equal expectations of everyone’s roles. If, from a young age, the expectation is that all career paths are open, we can avoid pigeon-holing individuals into pre-conceived ideas around what they should do. By encouraging the younger generation into engineering and STEM, diversity of gender and background within these areas will increase and, ultimately, equality will follow.”

Marsha Ramlogan, wells engineering team lead


“Equality is achieved not because everyone is the same and has the same competencies, but in realizing that everyone brings something different to the table.”

Ila Glennie, engineering director, global operations organization


“To achieve equality in the workplace, we must value, encourage and hire diverse teams. And we need the courage to tackle non-inclusive behaviour or attitudes and our own unconscious bias.”   

Lizzie Dale, human resources vice president, subsurface


“If we are going to achieve equity, we have to pause and take time to understand our unconscious biases and how they may impact on the decisions we make – whether that be hiring someone, or allocating a stretch assignment, or giving performance ratings.” 

Citra Chergia, subsea production systems equipment subsea engineer, Tortue manifold and connection systems


“Achieving equality requires engagement and strong commitment from all of us. It starts from our mind and we need to treat other people as we would want to be treated. I am happy to work at the company that advocates for equal opportunity for all employees.” 

Stephanie Houston, aqueous geochemist


“To achieve true equality in BP, we must all first be able to recognize the inequality still present, from the tiniest micro-inequity to the most overt discrimination. And, we must then have the courage to call it out with positivity and generosity, address it objectively and collaborate to effect permanent change.”

Daria Ivanova, geologist, global modelling team, Upstream Technology


“I think it’s really important that women in the workplace have people who believe in and mentor them. No matter how senior or junior you are, think about the positive actions you can take to help develop someone’s leadership potential, perhaps with a conversation or a suggestion for a new role to undertake.”

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