Feb 3, 2020 | Kayo Women, Professional Advice, Your Community, Your Path

Women are rising to executive positions in energy. Ten years ago, only 6% of Chevron’s board of directors and 11% of its management committee were women. Today, Chevron’s board of directors is comprised of 36% women, and its management committee has evolved to 20% female representation.

How did they do it? After all, Chevron, a major integrated energy company, is a success story in an industry that still struggles to overcome its legacy of gender imbalance. Second only behind construction, energy is the worst ranked industry for gender equality, according to a study by Boston Consulting Group (source).

The data looks even worse when you look at senior level positions.

That Chevron nearly doubled its representation of women managers in a decade calls for celebration. We are ringing in the new decade celebrating the efforts of Chevron, who is fueling performance and driving innovation through diversity, inclusion, and personal accountability – starting at the top.

What was the company to do to successfully move women into leadership positions? How would they be able to foster a supportive culture?


Chevron implemented Catalyst’s Men Advocating Real Change, commonly known as the MARC initiative. MARC works to reveal unconscious bias and convert male coworkers into advocates for gender partnership. For over 20 years, Chevron has partnered with Catalyst, a women’s rights advocacy group, to take action to improve gender equity in the workplace. Notably, Chevron awarded Catalyst’s MARC program $5 million to continue its groundbreaking research, programming, and training aimed at engaging men in gender equity and inclusion efforts.

“We are expanding our partnership with Catalyst to support an initiative that is helping Chevron create a more gender-inclusive workplace, and that we believe can benefit other companies around the world,” said Michael Wirth, Chevron’s chairman and chief executive officer. “This grant proves once again the power of partnership – how with commitment and dedication, real change is possible.” This year, the company will serve as Chair to the MARC Advisory Committee.

Chevron is committed to accelerating the reach of MARC to a multi-regional audience of Catalyst supporter organizations. The company believes MARC has the power to create a more gender-inclusive workplace across the entire industry. The program expands the dialogue about the role men want and need to play, and equips leaders with the tools to forge more effective gender partnerships to truly move the needle in service of equity and inclusion. MARC has become an important part of Chevron’s gender advocacy and inclusion journey in helping male colleagues understand the challenges their female colleagues face.


With a fully engaged leadership, Chevron has truly stepped on the gas. Building a pipeline through investments in STEM education, with an emphasis on advancing STEM opportunities for women and underserved communities, Chevron is implementing programs that create pathways for women. Most recently, the company launched “Welcome Back,” a program focused on re-engaging skills to accelerate the process of getting back into the workforce for women following child leave, family care, or other challenges.

Source: Boston Consulting Group

The company is helping employees understand obstacles and learn how to connect inclusively through bias training programs. Successfully, the company has engaged men and women in deep, honest dialogues where men gain insight, empathy, and personal motivation to take action to improve gender equality.


Mike Wirth, CEO, is fully committed to growing the number of global staff women, and their Chevron Way values holds everyone accountable in advancing diversity at all levels of the company. At Chevron, women in executive and senior management roles have increased year-over-year for the last five years, including women like Kayo Advisory Board Member and General Counsel and Vice President Land at Chevron North America Exploration and Production Company Kristi McCarthy. Even though Chevron sits above the industry average for women employees, they are proving that actions speak louder than words.

Through the power of partnership, Chevron exemplifies how women can advance their careers, connect with leaders, and champion their peers. We’re particularly inspired by the collaboration of both men and women at Chevron to make this change happen, partially inspiring our closing keynote at the 6th Annual Kayo Energy Summit, “Men Who Stand With Us,” which will provide a platform for senior male executives in oil and gas who have a track record for championing women professionals.

We salute Chevron’s effort and hope to have more success stories like this to share. We invite you to continue the conversation with us in April at the Kayo Women’s Energy Summit.