By DARA BUTTERFIELD
Chief Scientist at BP, Angela Strank, has talked about women in STEM, careers within BP, and how things have changed since the early days of her career. She remains positive about the diverse and more balanced industry environment of today despite the fact that women account for only 7% of the professional engineering workforce in the UK.
“In society, there is still a bit of stereotyping that goes on unconsciously. You do not pick up many women’s magazines and see articles on engineering, nanoscience or biofuels. You’d probably be surprised how many people still say to me, ‘It’s great that BP has a woman who is chief scientist.’
“Things have changed a great deal. There are many more female STEM graduates coming into our industry. Few women had STEM driven careers in the oil and gas industry when I joined – especially in exploration. In fact at that time women were unable to go offshore in the UK North Sea due to lack of accommodation – but that changed quite quickly.
“It was a completely different environment from the diverse and more balanced one we have in the industry today.
“It is important to keep going and not worry about any discrimination you might encounter. It just made me more determined. In BP, though I’ve always been treated with great respect, and fairly. I have had some incredible roles, experiences and opportunities.”
Strank became BP’s Chief Scientist in May 2014 after more than 30 years working in STEM roles in BP’s Upstream and Downstream businesses.