Monday was International Women’s Day, and oil companies want you to know — they’re feminists, too! Shell, Chevron, and even the American Petroleum Institute, the oil industry’s biggest lobbying group, posted messages about the importance of women in the oil and gas industry. “Here’s to the women making a difference at Chevron,” tweeted the Chevron account.
Symbolic gestures of corporate solidarity are nothing new for the oil and gas industry. Last year, in a particularly cringe-worthy commemoration of International Women’s Day, one Shell gas station run by two women temporarily added an apostrophe to its logo, becoming She’ll. The stunt quickly became the object of Twitter mockery (“more women gas pumps!” said one user). Last summer, Shell, BP, and Chevron similarly released statements against racism, declaring themselves allies of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Many of the oil companies’ recent posts allude to their inclusion of women in the workforce; the Canadian oil magnate Enbridge, for example, pointed to its goal of having 40 percent women in the workplace and on the board of directors by 2025, while Shell tweeted an article highlighting women in positions of power at the company. But oil companies’ claims to anti-racism or feminism ring hollow — even with women at the helm — when the effects of oil and gas extraction and climate change fall disproportionately on women, particularly women of color.