As an employee in the oil and gas industry, I am very aware of the stereotypes of the “roughnecks, truck drivers and ditch diggers” that are often used to blanket the types of jobs available and the types of individuals who do them.
And as a woman working in the industry, I am even more aware of the perception that this male-dominated industry has very few options for women looking to get involved. Heck, my own mother raised her eyebrows at my choice of employment: “So…do you have to wear hardhats and drive a truck?” Not exactly, but I do love my steel-toed boots!
What’s overlooked is just how many lives the natural gas industry touches; all genders, all ages, geologists, rig hands, quarry workers and the list goes on and on. Once you factor in the indirect jobs and benefits created by shale and where the added money is being invested around the community from royalty payments it’s really amazing. Local businesses are seeing an increase in profits and schools are introducing new degrees that will help the next generations stay in the area with the hundreds of new jobs created in the area.
These three amazing women are far from alone in their stories. Last month, over 100 women met in Williamsport to discuss their ties to the industry and celebrate their place in the industry’s diverse workforce. Their hope is to change the perception of the industry (and hopefully my mother…) and encourage other women to explore employment options alongside them.