To outsiders, the oil and gas industry probably looks like nothing but a lot of dirty work. While oil and gas careers do often involve physical labor and dangerous equipment, there’s also a significant amount of intellectual prowess necessary to manage logistics, plan extraction sites and otherwise keep oil and gas companies operating efficiently.
Whether you are a woman working in the field installing or maintaining equipment or you have a more corporate position in the oil and gas industry, chances are good that you have experienced at least some gender-based hostility from your co-workers.
You may have gotten used to dealing with the “boy’s club” as part of your chosen profession, but that doesn’t mean that you should have to endure unwanted advances, a hostile work environment or career setbacks because of your gender.
Just because there are more men than women doesn’t make harassment okay
Inappropriate conversations and behavior shouldn’t take place on the job site regardless of the gender, race or other protected characteristics of the people employed by the company. You never know who might be listening or even recording conversations that employees have while working on official business.
In other words, even male oil and gas workers who aren’t around women on the job should avoid inappropriate discussions about women, their bodies and human sexuality. Especially when there’s a woman on the job site, workers should behave with dignity and respect for others. You shouldn’t have to deal with jokes at your expense or laughter falling silent when you walk up to a group of co-workers.
In a dangerous job, you have to be able to trust one another
If the guys at your work make your job difficult or frustrating, that is concerning enough, but if you don’t feel like you could rely on them in a moment of danger, that is noteworthy. If your co-workers have explicitly warned you that they would retaliate against you because you have asked them to treat you with respect or to maintain more professional demeanors on the job, you may not feel safe working with those individuals anymore.
Instead of just ignoring all of that mistreatment, you may want to start documenting each incident so that you can address it with your employer. If they don’t take the appropriate steps to reprimand the workers involved and create a safer workspace for you, you may need to take legal action against your employer for your own safety and the protection of other women who will work there in the future.