2019 was the centenary of the Women’s Engineering Society, and we're continuing to celebrate it in 2020! WES was founded just after the achievement of partial female suffrage in 1918, with the intention of supporting women into employment and education in the varied fields of engineering. WES has had many notable members, yet the only member who features widely in the popular historical narrative is pilot Amy Johnson.
We aim to redress this with our interactive online WES Centenary Trail Map recording and sharing the history of WES with a wider public, building an audience for our history through new and improved Wikipedia entries, based on research into a century of the The Woman Engineer Journal (digitised and cared for by the IET Archives alongside WES' wider archives) alongside other historical collections and publications. The Wikipedia and Wikidata pages are generated by volunteers, trained and engaged through Wikithons around the country and entries are pulled through to populate the map. The project is sharing these new and improved histories through local events, displays, social media and a small PR programme.
Family audiences are welcomed through our WES Lottie Doll tour of the WES Centenary Trail, aimed at encouraging families to think of engineering and its heritage as subjects just as interesting for girls as for boys. Follow the hashtag #WESLottieTour
The WES Centenary Trail is funded by a grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.
As part of the WES Centenary Trail, we are posting daily stories of women engineers who belonged to or were connected with WES on @WESCentenary on Twitter or @wes_centenary on Instagram and are using the hashtag #WES100 too.
Log onto our Centenary YouTube Channel and learn more about some of our discoveries.
Want to help us improve the gender balance of women and women engineers on Wikipedia?
Keep an eye out for future Wikithons around the or add or edit some pages yourself. We will be publishing some "How To" guides here soon.
Our thanks to all the volunteer editors who have taken part in the project so far!
Some notable WES members or women mentioned in The Woman Engineer journal with Wikipedia pages who will ultimately feature on the WES Centenary Map are listed below. Lots more to come…
In alphabetical order
Some other WES women who have online present but no Wikipedia page ... (yet!)
Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
In support of WES’s Centenary the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography have added new biographies recording the lives of five of the early generation of women engineers: Eily Marguerite Leifchild Keary; Frances Beatrice Bradfield; Hilda Margaret Lyon and Beatrice Shilling and Blanche Thornycroft.
The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography is the national record of people who have shaped British history and culture, worldwide, from the Romans to the 21st century and holds over 60,000 biographies. Some biographies are locked but you can log in to read them with your local library card.
This follows on from a previous release of biographies about women connected to WES and engineering in July 2018.
The Electrifying Women project have created a set of resources to support your own research in this area and to continue our work by running your own sessions about the history of Women in Engineering. The resources cover
- Running your own events
- Writing blog posts
- Primary research
Download the resources and other information here.