First Ladies of O&G

First Ladies of O&G: Frontline Females Retrace Steps Forward
by  Robin Dupre

Rigzone Staff


Thursday, July 12, 2012

First Ladies of O&G: Frontline Females Retrace Steps Forward

In the southern part of the United States, past the bayous and swamp lands, lies an offshore world that was once only too familiar to men. An offshore oil rig is home, for a short period of time, to many men and women working in the energy industry.

These cramped quarters, where men and women live together for weeks at a time forces them to mesh, complement and live as one. But what many newcomers fully don’t comprehend is what it took – mistakes, experiences and life changing events – for the gender differences to become obsolete in the eyes of the roustabouts and roughnecks manning the drill.

“I have no clue what it is like for women in the oil field today,” stated Martha Scott, a retired oil rig worker. “For me, one of the female pioneers in the oil field, I believe it could be summed up as respect and forgiveness. It was new for all of us… and there needed to be a respect to the new ground that we were treading, as well as forgiveness for transgressions that might occur while learning the way of this new path.”

In 1964, the federal government passed the Civil Rights Act  prohibiting employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin. A year before, the Equal Pay Act of 1963 was entered, protecting men and women who perform substantially equal work in the same establishment from sex-based wage discrimination.

These two laws helped pave the way for Martha Scott and Valerie Hensley, two best friends that met on an oil rig in a male-dominated industry with the same goal in mind – to make a good living working hard in the oil and gas industry, just like everybody else.


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