In 1983 the United Kingdom Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) approached the Sociology Department at Aberdeen University and asked them to carry out a study of the problems encountered by women seeking offshore employment. It had received a number of complaints from women geologists who felt that they had been discriminated against when they had applied for offshore geology jobs. The scale of the problem, if indeed there was one, was unknown. Similarly it was not known whether other groups of women, for example engineers or catering workers, were being discriminated against in the British sector of the North Sea, or whether the situation was different in other offshore areas, such as the Norwegian sector. The report Women in the North Sea Oil Industry (Moore and Wybrow, 1984) examined female employment at the two ends of the employment spectrum, catering and geology. Interviews were carried out with the major oil companies and service companies, including the catering contractors. In addition a postal questionnaire was used to survey 161 female geology graduates who had graduated between 1981 and 1983. This chapter describes the results of that study, first comparing the British with the Norwegian experience; secondly, examining women’s employment, principally in catering and geology, from an industry perspective; and, thirdly outlining women’s own perceptions of discrimination.


Equal Opportunity Female Employment Service Company Equal Opportunity Commission Norwegian Continental Shelf 
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Copyright information

© Jane Lewis, Marilyn Porter and Mark Shrimpton 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter Wybrow

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