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One woman hopes for culture change in oilfields following Greta sticker ordeal

Last Updated Mar 4, 2020 at 9:32 am EST

A worker walks over the Sandhills fen on the company's oilsands lease in this undated Syncrude handout image. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Syncrude Energy, Roth and Ramberg *MANDATORY CREDIT*

CALGARY (660 NEWS) – The conditions women face as an oilfield worker has come into the spotlight after a sexually explicit decal of 17-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg surfaced.

Marie-Eve Mallet has worked in the industry for the past few years and documented her first experience being a woman working in the oilsands.

The blog post was titled “Boys Will be Boys: Alberta’s Toxic Oil Culture” where she details her concerns of entering a male-dominated industry hearing “about the ‘types’ of people who work in ‘the patch’, tough ‘alpha-males’ who drink, do drugs, and cheat on their wives.”

In the blog, she talks about how common it is for physical violence, the use of narcotics, and how the company she worked for had to refuse jobs that involved drug tests.

At one of the sites, Mallet was told to pick-up garbage in a muddy ditch where she was stuck up to her waist in mud. She was told to dig herself out and eventually her boss had to use an excavator to release her from the suction of the mud.

“Once the levels had dropped down to my knees, he placed the bucket up against my torso so that I could pull myself out of the pit and jump in. When I got to dry land, he said, ‘You’re sexy when you struggle.’ I pretended not to hear him,” the blog read.

Mallet wrote the blog back in 2017 and has since switched to a different company where her work conditions have drastically improved.

“It’s been a lot better, I mean there is still a prevalence,” Mallet said in an interview. “An issue in terms of masculinity and toxicity but I think that’s also present in any construction field.”

When she heard the news about the outrage surrounding the decal of Greta Thunberg she was happy a woman in the field spoke out about it.

“I’m very grateful for that. I think that it shows that it doesn’t represent everyone, doesn’t represent the industry as a whole, and I’m glad it was called out because it needs to be fixed.”

“I don’t know that this specifically is going to make a change, I think people need to speak up a lot more,” she added.

Her advice to any woman who wants to join the industry is to detach yourself from what is said and know that women have a right to work in oil and gas as well.