Women's Engineering Society
The Women's Engineering Society (WES) was founded in 1919 by women who worked as engineers during the first world war, found they enjoyed it, were good at it and didn't want to stop. WES was one of the very first organisations to champion women's right to non-traditional careers. The members have advised the UK government on evolving employment practices for women. Constituted as a professional society with membership grades the Society has always welcomed those who are committed to its aims and objectives of promoting the study and practice of engineering and allied sciences among women. Members are drawn from women who have entered the profession through an apprenticeship route as well as a degree. The participation of men in the society's activities is welcomed. The society celebrated its 90th year in 2009. The Society's journal The Woman Engineer has its own Editorial Board that has evolved the journal to reflect the changes in society at large. In the early days it contained technical articles as women could not join the engineering
Engineering is the discipline, art, skill and profession of acquiring and applying scientific, mathematical, economic, social, and practical knowledge, in order to design and build structures, machines, devices, systems, materials and processes that safely realize improvements to the lives of...

 Institutions and now contains articles which give engineers a broad view of work in all the different engineering disciplines and celebrates the achievements of women.

The Society has a substantial archive documenting women's status in engineering and provides an insight into women's changing role in society. The archive is hosted by the IET
Institution of Engineering and Technology
The Institution of Engineering and Technology is a British professional body for those working in engineering and technology in the United Kingdom and worldwide. It was formed in 2006 from two separate institutions: the Institution of Electrical Engineers , dating back to 1871, and the...

In 2010 WES is a vibrant organisation offering regional network groups and a place to connect women at different career levels.

The Society is a company limited by guarantee
Company limited by guarantee
In British and Irish company law, a private company limited by guarantee is an alternative type of corporation used primarily for non-profit organisations that require legal personality. A guarantee company does not usually have a share capital or shareholders, but instead has members who act as...

 162096 registered at Companies House
Companies House
Companies House is the United Kingdom Registrar of Companies and is an Executive Agency of the United Kingdom Government Department for Business, Innovation and Skills . All forms of companies are incorporated and registered with Companies House and file specific details as required by the...

 and it a charity 1008913 registered at the Charity Commission
Charity Commission
The Charity Commission for England and Wales is the non-ministerial government department that regulates registered charities in England and Wales....



The Women's Engineering Society holds a residential conference each year, including a Gala Dinner.
The 2010 conference was held from 19–20 November at Kenwood Hall in Sheffield
Sheffield is a city and metropolitan borough of South Yorkshire, England. Its name derives from the River Sheaf, which runs through the city. Historically a part of the West Riding of Yorkshire, and with some of its southern suburbs annexed from Derbyshire, the city has grown from its largely...

, entitled Making Digital Britain.
The 2009 conference was held from the 11 - 13 September at Surrey University
University of Surrey
The University of Surrey is a university located within the county town of Guildford, Surrey in the South East of England. It received its charter on 9 September 1966, and was previously situated near Battersea Park in south-west London. The institution was known as Battersea College of Technology...

 titled the Power of Change.

Outreach to schools

WES members have been active participants in outreach to inspire girls about engineering and allied science careers. President Verena Holmes
Verena Holmes
Verena Winifred Holmes was a mechanical engineer and inventor, the first woman member elected to the Institution of Mechanical Engineers , and a strong supporter of women in engineering....

 left a legacy to fund an annual lecture to inspire school girls. Run by the Verena Holmes Trust the first lecture tour was in 1969 during the first UK Women in Engineering Year and the last lecture was sponsored by Ford in 2000.
Members provided the 'technical women power' for the WISE Buses which were launched following the successful WISE Year in 1984, celebrating the first 25 years of women into engineering, (the first being in 1969) and continue to undertake activities in schools often through the UK STEM Ambassador scheme.


The jewel in the crown of WES is MentorSET – a mentoring
Mentorship refers to a personal developmental relationship in which a more experienced or more knowledgeable person helps a less experienced or less knowledgeable person....

scheme for individuals, inspired by the WES President Petra Gratton (nee Godwin) in 2000. The scheme was a collaborative project between WES and the National network of women scientists (AWISE). the philosophy was to enable women to maintain a support system if they took a career break or had to change jobs as a 'trailing spouse'. MentorSET has been funded by DTI and more recently the UK Resource Centre for women in SET.

External links

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