Why the Women’s Engineering Society still has its work cut out after 100 years
Britain gave the world the first official group for female engineers, but still only 12% of the UK’s engineering workforce are women
In June 1919, seven women came together in London to do something unprecedented: they founded the world’s first Women’s Engineering Society (WES), which survives to this day.
The creation of WES was precipitated by the end of the first world war. Thousands of women had entered factories and gained practical engineering training, but the 1919 Restoration of Pre-War Practices Act forced women to hand over their jobs to men returninghome. The society’s founding aims were to protect job opportunities for women in engineering and to ensure training and educational prospects were available to make sure women could enter the field.