The oil and gas industry is vast, with revenues of $3 trillion expected worldwide this year, according to IBISWorld, a business information and market research firm. And while the sector supports millions of jobs, those opportunities aren’t being shared equally.
Women represent just 22% of employees in the industry worldwide, according to a 2017 report by the World Petroleum Council and The Boston Consulting Group — a significantly smaller share than found in almost any other sector.
To help bridge gender gaps in the energy sector, Okudo founded Women in Energy & Extractives (WEX Africa) in 2011. The nonprofit operates in eight African countries and has grown to more than 4,000 members.
The group works to reach girls at an early age and encourage them to study science and technology. “We make sure we go to high schools all around Kenya and all around Africa,” says Okudo, who has worked as a consultant for oil companies including Nigeria’s SpringRock Energy.
“I talk to girls about STEM subjects because I know how unattractive [those subjects] are deemed,” says Okudo. “If we want to have a sustainable approach and we want more women into these industries, we have to look at it from the short term, midterm and long term.”