Earlier this month, LQM teamed up with senior female leaders in maritime to discuss their success and perceptions of bunkering as a career path for women.
During the session, which you can watch again here, the panel focussed on:
Statistics and gender quality ratios across the bunker industry
Barriers for women entering the industry at the moment
The appetite for female applicants in bunkering roles
What can be done to attract more women into the bunker industry
The key takeaway from the one-hour discussion was that female leadership has the potential to be an industry game changer
In the bunker industry, women currently make up just nine per cent of senior positions.
But it became clear that LQM are bucking the trend. We are proud to have a gender equality ratio of 50 per cent across global operations in the UK, USA and France.
The wider industry figures aren't as positive. Around 2000 people work in the bunker sector as a whole, although only 26 per cent of those are women.
Research from Advanced Resource Management (ARM) has revealed that of the 26 per cent, approximately 15 per cent fall into lower levels roles such as graduate positions, administration and purchasing.
Unni Einemo (Director of IBIA), Isabela Tatu (Consultant for TMA), Jenna Coles (Head of Maritime for ARM) and Sara Brady (Team Leader at LQM) offered their take on the current state of play.
"I came into bunkering through LQM," said LQM Team Manager Sara Brady. "I was hired by a very strong female broker - who was also a partner in the business - and that's why I'm so happy LQM are still continuing on the same path.
"I thought it was amazing to see such a strong businesswoman doing the best for our clients and accounts.
"It wasn't about being a woman or man. It was about working as hard as you can to get there.
"I remember sitting on a board of directors with 15 men and it was scary because it's hard to tell if they're taking you seriously or not. Nearly two decades later, I'm going to the same board meetings and I'm so glad to see more women and female buyers.
"There are still some regional differences. It's a slower pace of change in South America, for example, but there has been improvements - especially on the supplier side."
Despite rapidly changing attitudes in all industries around the world, women - in many instances - remain the primary caregiver in families.
Coles from ARM says the bunkering industry should think differently.
"That's a barrier in itself, so can the bunkering industry offer any flexibility?" she said.
"Would they look to change working hours? Would they [look] at more working-from-home arrangements?
"Due to the nature of the bunkering industry, with often short-notice travel, that's not something many women can achieve.
"If you were to say, 'OK, I need you to go to Geneva tomorrow', unfortunately, it's much more likely that a male counterpart could make that travel."
Tatu, who is a consulting services specialist, believes the changing nature of energy - and maritime in general - will organically attract more women into the industry.
"There's a transformation happening in shipping," Tatu explained.
"Lots of women are involved in different projects for alternative energy, where there's collaboration and a drive for new ideas."
LQM chief executive Daniel Rose says diversity will remain at the heart of his organisation's corporate strategy.
"Our 50 per cent gender equality ratio is something we absolutely intend to keep in the future," Rose said.
"Despite bunkering being male dominated, LQM's experience is that keeping things balanced has been hugely positive."