OpinionCorporate responsibility to women empowerment: an essential part of doing business
Corporate responsibility to women empowerment: an essential part of doing business
“A company cannot hold a true concept of corporate responsibility without the issues of promoting women, empowering, and nurturing them, being inherently and deeply integrated within its conduct, consciously and while setting a living and lasting personal example,” writes Ilia Rigas of Energean
I got to grow up in Greece, in a nurturing and empowering environment that has always conveyed that desire and skills will take you wherever you want to go. On the one hand, as the leader of social and corporate responsibility of a global group, there is no doubt that the issue of women's empowerment and concern for their rights and the egalitarian conception towards them, are at the core of my daily pursuits and that of the company.
I believe that this duality is shared by quote a few senior-level women, who have developed thanks to their skills and their investment, while witnessing the struggle of many women around the world, to overcome obstacles, prejudices and limitations imposed on them by the environment, consciously or unconsciously, and make the most out of their abilities and aspirations.
And this, in my opinion, is where the role of companies, whose issues of corporate social responsibility are at the core of their work, comes into the picture in the most significant way. Many companies in the world today understand that corporate responsibility is not a secondary part of doing business, but an essential and integral part of it, and therefore it must be incorporated into the strategy and day-to-day conduct.
Accordingly, a company cannot hold a true concept of corporate responsibility without the issues of promoting women, empowering, and nurturing them, being inherently and deeply integrated within its conduct, consciously and while setting a living and lasting personal example. The most significant place where companies can act in for women is within themselves: making sure that they create and promote a nurturing and encouraging environment that helps women climb over barriers and examines them only based on their skills and abilities.
There is no doubt that the energy industry in general, and gas production in particular, is characterized by a prominent male dominance. It is a tough industry, rich in capital and risk, with significant geopolitical interfaces, factors that are probably traditionally perceived as more "masculine". At the same time, in Energean, women now make a considerable % of the company's human capital - both at the employee level and at the management level, and the numbers are only growing from year to year. The many women I talk to and meet with during my work, inside and outside the company, are proud to be part of an industry that has a far-reaching impact on every field in which we live, and feel equal in a company based on values of transparency and commitment to the world we live in.
In my view, organizations and corporations in which the gender issue has been fully implemented and are operating in countries and regions where women have long been perceived as equals when it comes to value and opportunities, should focus their efforts in developing the next step in female empowerment: developing and investing in elements such as commitment, ambition, passion and enthusiasm. These are the levers that will take successful, opinionated, and talented women from wherever they are in their careers, to the next level. As the Greek poet C.P. Cavafy wrote in the poem “Ithaka”: …“Laistrygonians, Cyclops, wild Poseidon—you won’t encounter them unless you bring them along inside your soul, unless your soul sets them up in front of you”
And above all we need to emphasize that this is not a favor that we do for women. It is not only the moral and right way, but also the economic and profitable one. Corporates who adopt this way get a diversity of voices and ideas around management tables and as a direct outcome a better growth and productivity. This is in the best interest of the organization and for us all as a society.
Ilia Rigas is Head of CSR at Energean