Bartica girl in fearless pursuit of women’s advocacy award, pageant title


Shanae Heber has found a new passion in her women empowerment journey. She hopes to inspire young women to meaningfully contribute to Guyana’s prolific oil and gas sector.

And now being nominated for the 2023 edition of 25 Influential Women Leaders Awards, the 21-year-old final year University of Guyana student is also vying for the Miss Bartica Regatta 2023 crown and serves as the Shadow Minister of Natural Resources in the National Assembly of Girls.

During an interview with the News Room, the young woman said by using her platforms, she hopes she can inspire more Guyanese women to take up space in male-dominated sectors.

Shanae Heber on outreach for the pageant

“I think the award focuses on influential women leaders, women that are using their platform to bring about change…I believe that I represent a generation of women that are working assiduously to break barriers that are attached to us,” Heber said.

Heber started studying for her Bachelor of Science in petroleum engineering without much knowledge about the field. She explained that she applied for the programme immediately after graduating from secondary school. Soon after, she became passionate about being at the forefront of the country’s new resources.

Heber at her graduation from the University of Guyana

“At that time it was a newfound resource in Guyana and I wanted to take up space in this industry because it was male-dominated.

“When I started the programme I fell in love with it and now everything that I want to do is specifically oil and gas,” Heber said.

In addition to studying oil and gas, Heber is studying Business Administration at the Texila American University. She is also part of the Girl Build Girl foundation which gave her the first glimpse into women’s empowerment. At the time she was living in Bartica and after moving to Georgetown, she realised that the livelihood of not only her peers but women can be much more than what is expected of them.

Her advice for young women is that, “you have the potential and you have got to be able to harness that potential not only for yourself but also so us girls are seen as transformational leaders and powerful sources of development.”

Heber said her mother was a designer for the very pageant she will compete in during Easter Weekend. She intended to compete in 2020 but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was cancelled.

Heber wants to focus on her hometown and ensure that the girls living there can benefit from opportunities that are offered not only within the oil and gas sector but in every social aspect as well. As she competes in the pageant, her platform will be the impact teenage pregnancy plays on the development of young women.

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