#RealStories of female empowerment at Pilipinas Shell

Women have joined every aspect of the business, from field operators all the way to female executives, including three female directors in the current Board. As of last count, women account for 35% of the employees. Pilipinas Shell enables women to compete professionally and on equal footing with colleagues and peers.

This is our new normal:

Women work in physically demanding jobs. Andrea Nicole Acorda is a field inspector in the refinery—a job that entails working at heights, confined spaces, and biking during site inspections. Being one of the few female inspectors, she has fought against stereotyping. “I remain persistent and determined to give my best in everything I do because I’ve wanted to prove that Shell is right for entrusting such position to a woman like me. Thanks to Shell for its strong advocacy in diversity and gender equality, for recognising females’ strengths that shifts the mind-set of the majority of the population,” she said.

Women benefit from inclusive leadership. Mae Ascan serves as the Regional Technical Lead for Asia at Shell Global Solutions. Her team has one male scientist; the rest are female. Not too long ago, she started work as the first female chemist assigned to the (now defunct) Pandacan Terminal laboratory. “Within four years’ time, I became the lab manager, and it was probably 90% female,” Ascan said. She describes the transition to a more diverse laboratory as a natural outcome of the intent to be more inclusive. “It’s a work in progress,” she said.

Women pursue higher studies and maintain a full-time job. Mae Mojares credits Shell with supporting her dream: she pursues her law studies while working full-time as a legal administrative assistant in Pilipinas Shell. “Sometimes, I need to leave the office earlier than usual to attend to some school requirements. This is when I am grateful to my line manager and teammates in Legal, they are very considerate and sympathetic. They understand the situation and will remind you of the work that needs to be done.”

Women negotiate a flexible schedule to achieve work-life balance. Kath Valentin-Ringor, HR Process and Systems Advisor at Pilipinas Shell, experienced a dilemma in 2013 when her prematurely born daughter needed to be brought to therapy thrice a week. Pilipinas Shell offered a flexible working arrangement. “It is the ideal setup for me to be able to attend to my daughter’s needs and at the same time pursue my career in Shell,” said Valentin-Ringor. “I am able to look after my priorities without giving up one over the other.” Opportunities to lead and work in physically demanding jobs; educational support; and flexible working arrangements are only part of what makes Pilipinas Shell an ideal employer.

Visible Pride: International Coming Out Day at Shell On October 11, International Coming Out Day, a riot of rainbow colours marked the lobby and various floors of Shell House in Valero, Makati. Shell delivery trucks and fuel tankers at the Tabangao Refinery in Batangas City also sported rainbow flags. In operational sites, including Shell stations, Diversity Walls – with the challenge, “Let’s make our workplace more inclusive for everyone” – prompted employees and the general public to scrawl uplifting messages. All of these signified solidarity with the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community.

International Coming Out Day raises awareness on the challenges faced by the LGBT community and the individual struggle to be authentic to oneself. Pilipinas Shell, on its second year of joining the global celebration, adopted the theme of “Empowering Every Employee to Bring Their Whole Self to Work.” This asserts the Shell value of respect for people, and reinforces the standard of a safe workspace for everyone – or in Cesar Romero’s words, “in Shell, you can be who you [truly] are.”

Shell celebrates difference to make a difference – that is, to #MakeTheFuture by discouraging workplace discrimination.

Pilipinas Shell remains undaunted in its advocacy. “I am a genuine believer that establishing a truly diverse and inclusive culture, despite the challenges, can be a real source of competitive advantage for the Company. A diverse and inclusive workplace, embedded with our principles of honesty, integrity, and respect, brings together remarkable people and enables them to be themselves,” said Romero.

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