The Women’s Engineering Society (WES) was founded in 1919 at the end of the First World War when women who had been employed in technical fields found it difficult, if not impossible, to continue working as engineers. A change in the law to return women engineers to the home led to the establishment of WES by pioneering and influential women.
As discussed on World War One at Home (available on BBC sounds), with labour in short supply during the First World War, the factories in Lincoln had to enlist women to fill the gap left behind by the men going off to fight. They were known as muntionettes and were key in helping firms keep up with demand for aircraft, tanks, bombs and other war arms.
When the armistice came, they lost their jobs to the returning soldiers. It wouldn’t be until the outbreak of World War Two that we would see such high levels of female employment again.
WES has worked tirelessly for over a hundred years to ensure equality for women in engineering. Today, WES’ mission is to support women in engineering to fulfil their potential and support the engineering industry to be inclusive.
23rd June will see the return of International Women in Engineering Day (INWED), a national campaign that began in 2014. Since then, INWED has gone global and received UNESCO patronage back in 2016.
Sponsors this year include the Royal Air Force, Cytiva and Royal Academy of Engineering.
2023’s theme is #MakeSafetySeen and they will be celebrating the amazing work that women engineers around the world are doing to support lives and livelihoods every day. They are profiling the best, brightest and bravest women in engineering, those women who #MakeSafetySeen and are helping to build towards a brighter future.
To find out more, and learn how to get involved, visit www.inwed.org.uk