Women on the Pipeline
The Trans-Alaska Pipeline Project, spanning the years 1974-1977, was the largest privately financed construction project ever undertaken. The focus of this photography exhibit is on the women who were directly involved with the construction of the pipeline or who provided support services essential to the project.
When the pipeline workforce peaked at approximately 28,000 employees in October 1975, women represented as much as 10 percent of the total and more than the 8 percent required by federal regulations. Alyeska, a consortium of companies extracting the North Slope oil, employed many women as secretaries, cooks, and maids; but they also hired women to work as drivers, oilers, technicians, and general laborers. Alaskan women, as well as women from outside Alaska, capitalized on the opportunity to earn more money than ever before in their lives. Some saved their wages to start a new business or to earn a college degree; others blew their money on luxuries like a condo in Maui, a Porche convertible, or a week in Las Vegas. Women on the pipeline had earned the means to choose.