WES Heritage

WES has supported women in engineering for over 100 years.

We were founded by members of the National Council of Women during the First World War to:

  • Campaign for the pioneering women who worked in engineering and technical roles during the War to retain these roles when the war ended.
  • Promote engineering as a rewarding job for women

Our History

We’ve been supporting women in engineering for over 100 years.

During the first world war, women were encouraged into engineering to release men for the armed forces. As the war ended, these women were pressured to vacate their roles.

That’s when our story began. To resist this pressure and promote engineering as a rewarding job for women, a small committee drawn from the National Council of Women founded WES in 1919.

Centenary Map

WES has had many notable members, yet the only member who features widely in the popular historical narrative is pilot Amy Johnson.

We aimed 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. 


Notable Members

There are many key women influential in WES history. Find out more about them.