Abu Dhabi – MENA Herald: ADIPEC’s acclaimed ‘Women In Industry’ Conference has expanded into a full-day programme this year, inviting male participation and attendance for the first time since the series’ inception.

Hosted under the patronage of Her Excellency Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi, Minister of International Cooperation and Development, the conference will take place on Sunday, 8 November at the Eastern Mangroves Hotel and Spa by Anantara.

With an established track record of raising passionate debate on the issues surrounding the role of women in the energy sector, ‘Women In Industry’ is part of the Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference (ADIPEC), one of the world’s leading energy events and a global meeting place for oil and gas professionals.

The ‘Women In Industry’ Conference aims to address the challenges faced by women in the oil and gas industry in their journey to success, bringing women leaders to the stage to share their experiences and insights on shattering the glass ceiling.

This year’s conference programme includes a keynote address by H.E. Sheikha Lubna on empowering women to achieve success and contribute to society, including a live on-stage interview.

Also giving a keynote address on the important role of women in energy will be Mr Ali Khalifa Al Shamsi, Strategy and Coordination Director at the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), and ADIPEC 2015 Chairman.

“Inclusive workplace policies will enable more women to enter and thrive in the oil and gas industry, which will ultimately bring value and promote an overall forward-thinking attitude within the sector,” Mr. Al Shamsi said.

“A comprehensive approach is key to bridging the gender gap, and this includes action on both sides – educating women from the grassroots about the wide range of opportunities available in the industry, and creating workplace environments that enable the growth and development of female professionals,” Mr. Al Shamsi added.

The first half of the conference, which kicks off at 9am, will be open to both men and women, followed by women’s only sessions, roundtable discussions, and a majlis gathering from 2pm onwards.

The morning sessions include a live on-stage interview with Vicki Hollub, Senior Executive Vice President and President of Occidental Oil and Gas, on her experiences transitioning from manager to C-level, and a keynote innovation address by Mohammad Husain, CEO of the Kuwait-based petrochemical company Equate, on innovation and diversity in the workplace and how it can drive a competitive advantage in any business.

The value of inviting men as both speakers and audience members to the conference is two-fold, explained Claire Pallen, Conference Director at dmg events.

“First, it offers the perfect platform for men to listen to the concerns of their female colleagues, concerns that might otherwise go unheard,” she said. “Second, it enables male speakers to set precedent for other male colleagues, and inspire industry-wide change in corporate policy – one that promotes workplace diversity.”

Additional confirmed panellists this year include Melanie Kenderdine, Director of Office, Energy Policy and Systems Analysis, US Department of Energy; and a one-to-one interview with Sara Akbar, CEO and Co-founder of Kuwait Energy, on her career highlights which include insights into being the only female on Kuwait’s Wild Well Killers team back in 1991.