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7-Sep-05 WES History THE WOMENS ENGINEERING SOCIETY A Little Bit of History Dorothy Hatfield WES Conference 2005.

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Presentation on theme: "7-Sep-05 WES History THE WOMENS ENGINEERING SOCIETY A Little Bit of History Dorothy Hatfield WES Conference 2005."— Presentation transcript:

1 7-Sep-05 WES History THE WOMENS ENGINEERING SOCIETY A Little Bit of History Dorothy Hatfield WES Conference 2005

2 7-Sep-05 WES History

3 7-Sep-05 WES History In the Beginning Scene:The end of the war to end all wars –Very real issues concerning the continuing employment of women engineers who had made a huge contribution to the war effort. –Opposition from government, industry, unions Cast:Some remarkable women: Lady Katherine Parsons - wife of Sir Charles Parsons and a keen amateur Rachel M Parsons - their daughter, a qualified engineer Margaret Lady Moir - Women Engineering Relief Workers Verena Holmes - propeller gluer became centre lathe turner Margaret Partridge - electrical engineer who owned and ran a power station Catalyst: National Union of Women Workers > National Council of Women Outcome:The Womens Engineering Society (WES)

4 7-Sep-05 WES History The Early Days The Aim: To promote the study and practice of engineering among women; and, secondly to enable technical women to meet and to facilitate the exchange of ideas respecting the interests, training and employment of technical women and the publication and communication of information on such subjects. Enter Caroline Haslett - organising secretary Early Activities –Branches - 6 formed by 1920 –Conference - first Annual Conference 1923 (Birmingham) –The Woman Engineer - first issue December 1919 –International - early contacts

5 7-Sep-05 WES History 20 Years of Peace Swing away from semi-skilled and skilled trades towards professional engineering. Discord between Lady Parsons and Caroline Haslett By 1922 most of the institutions admitted women Education and training progress slow formation of the Electrical association for Women to promote the use of electricity in the home International Conference London Depression of the early 30s brings major difficulties: –high unemployment discourages female employment, particularly married women –branches disappear Aviation becomes new opportunity area for women engineers –Amy Johnson joins WES, President –Aeronautical section of WES leads in 1957 to the British Women Pilots Association

6 7-Sep-05 WES History War Again Women again needed in the workplace. More recognition of their ability to make contributions at all levels. Caroline Haslett advisor to Ministry of Labour Membership soared to nearly 300 Branches revived

7 7-Sep-05 WES History More Remarkable Women Dame Caroline Haslett Amy Johnson CBE Marjorie Bell Isabel Hardwich

8 7-Sep-05 WES History …and Peace Again Marriage bar re-introduced WES participates in the annual Engineering Exhibition at Olympia Expansion of International links –ICWES (New York) –ICWES Cambridge 1969 –50th birthday! –Women in Engineering Year –First Verena Holmes Lecture

9 7-Sep-05 WES History Lean Years and Resurgence WES struggles to keep going financially First Company Members First Student Groups WISE Year Membership up to Daphne Jackson Returners Fellowships - pilot scheme WES becomes a Charity

10 7-Sep-05 WES History The 90s ICWES9 at Warwick University Branches in decline Circles as alternative More Student Groups

11 7-Sep-05 WES History Homes and Secretaries (not necessarily complete) 46 Dover Street 26 George Street Regent Street 25 Fouberts Place Imperial College c/o SEMTA - Dartmouth Street, Old Queen Street c/o IEE Stevenage Caroline Haslett Thelma Davies Anneliese Souteriou Gwen Maxwell Catherine MacGillivray

12 7-Sep-05 WES History Daughters of WES The Electrical Association for Women The British Women Pilots Association The Daphne Jackson Trust …and now MentorSET

13 7-Sep-05 WES History ….and More Remarkable Women Cicely Thompson MBE Rose Winslade OBE - Asst Sec CEI Peggy Hodges OBE Gwen (Bunty) Howard Betty Laverick OBE - Asst Sec IEE May Maple Daphne Jackson OBE

14 7-Sep-05 WES History A Changing World THEN Very real and widespread barriers to the education and employment of women engineers Need to help women who already were or wanted to be engineers Issues not recognised by government and establishment bodies Body of well-off and influential women, often the wives of engineers, to lead the initiative London was the centre of communication NOW Discrimination subtle and covert Women isolated in their workplace want networking opportunities Issues identified and well known if not always tackled Need to encourage women (and men) to take up and continue in engineering Some government support eg UKRC Volunteers have jobs and families to consider Electronic communications etc enable remote working

15 7-Sep-05 WES History The Changing WES We should continually review our aims and strategies. We should not be afraid to consider radical change. We should recognise that it may not be appropriate for WES to live for ever.

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