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  • Marsha Hendler

My Final Glass Ceiling


When I first made the decision to be a licensed oil operator in Texas I never gave a moments thought to breaking any glass ceilings. It was when I was first called “a skirt and not a shirt” that it actually dawned on me that I was moving in a man’s arena. Now the other side is I have been treated with nothing but respect and have experienced none of the sexual harassment or discrimination that one might think exists in the oilfield. As much as I hate to admit it my progressing age may have something to do with that, after all I am well into my AARP years. As I look around the room I can find women entering the field that are providing support services, and I am hearing stories of more women beginning to work on the rigs; but I’ve not actually seen one. So let me ask the obvious question…why are more women not working as oil operators?

My best guess is women are more risk adverse than men. According to research conducted by Claire Shipman and Katty Kay , authors of the Confidence Code, men believe they can accomplish anything they set their mind to, women feel more of a need to prepare for their career, and seem reluctant to apply for a promotion until they are sure they meet all the posted requirements. I obviously do not fall into the latter category. When I began I would have two legal pads in front of me on every conference call; one to take notes of our conversation and the second to write down every term I had no idea what it meant. After the call, I would look up the terms and study the methods discussed. That was how I began to learn the vocabulary and understand the techniques used to produce a well. As this blog grows, I will continue to coax other women to join me as an oil operator.

Oh, so why the pink hat you ask? Several years ago at the San Antonio International Women’s Day Luncheon, Martha Raddatz, Senior Foreign Affairs Correspondent for ABC News, was booked as the keynote speaker. She was a wonderful choice, entertaining, funny, and very interesting. One of the stories she told was about her many trips into Iraq to report during the war. She shared with us the amount of equipment she wore to aid in her safety, and her bulky Kevlar bulletproof vest was an ABC News requirement. She found it was important to maintain some level of femininity and she accomplished this by wearing a pink shirt under her vest. That pink shirt became her statement piece just as a strand of pearls was Barbara Bush’s. From my earliest days in the field, my pink hat has been a key part of my uniform.

Thanks for taking the time to read my first blog and I hope you will become a regular reader.

#oildiva #womenintheoilfield #femaleoperators #independentoperatorsintexas

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