Rachel Parsons and the power of good stories
Friday, 23 June 2017
Today, 23 June, is International Women in Engineering Day, during which women around the world celebrate what it means to be an engineer and the great career opportunities that the profession has to offer. One hundred years ago, during the height of the First World War, their predecessors launched a long battle for employment rights. Find out more by reading this article in the June issue of E&T …
Electrifying pioneers: a tale of two Margarets
Friday, 2 June 2017
On Thursday, 15 June, I shall be taking part in a Wikithon at the Wellcome Collection in London. The event is part of a larger initiative to improve the gender balance in Wikipedia, since currently only 17 per cent of biographical entries in the online encyclopedia relate to women. Women engineers from history – long ignored or ridiculed as a group – provide fruitful territory for this work, in that…
Watch women build a bomber in record time
Tuesday, 2 May 2017
In the early summer of 1943, after months of relentless bombing raids by the German Luftwaffe, the Ministry of War, in collaboration with the RAF, issued a challenge to one of the factories producing planes for Bomber Command to build an operational Wellington bomber in record-breaking time. The purpose of the exercise was to impress friends and enemies alike. Broughton factory in Flintshire, a few…
Laura Annie Willson MBE: suffragette and house-builder
Wednesday, 19 April 2017
Of the seven Magnificent Women who signed the document creating the Women's Engineering Society on 23 June 1919, one name stands out. At the foot of the list is Laura Annie Willson of 22 Savile Park, Halifax, West Yorkshire. Like her fellow founders, Mrs Willson is described solely by her marital status ('married woman' or 'spinster') but, unlike the rest, she had begun life with no financial or educational…
Pledge Party in Bloomsbury on 24 April
Tuesday, 4 April 2017
Together with Unbound, Waterstones Gower Street (in Bloomsbury, central London) is hosting a monthly Pledge Party where you can hear from the authors of a number of new books that are crowdfunding. Think a literary Dragons' Den where eight authors each have 5 minutes to pitch their book.
You'll hear about everything from Fiction to Memoir, and from Poetry to History, and you can vote for your favourite…
Claudia and Verena: Loughborough's original lady engineers
Monday, 27 March 2017
There must be some sort of creative magic in the air of Loughborough. This thought occurred to me last week when I heard that two 16-year-old schoolboys from the Leicestershire town had been jointly awarded the title Young Engineer of the Year. Sankha Kahagala-Gamage and David Bernstein won the prize for inventing a vest for people with epilepsy that can predict an epileptic fit up to eight minutes…
Don't mention Miss Shilling's orifice
Wednesday, 8 March 2017
It doesn’t seem politically correct in modern times to mention the orifice made famous by Tilly Shilling in the Second World War, but on this day of all days it should be remembered – for 8 March is not only International Women’s Day but the birthday, in 1909, of Miss Beatrice (Tilly) Shilling, aeronautical engineer and motorcyle racer.
Tilly established her reputation during the war while working…
Black women engineers: Hidden Figures no longer
Thursday, 2 March 2017
So Moonlight won the Oscar for best picture – or, at least, I think it did, after a minor hitch that led to the award being presented to the wrong production team. And a brilliant, heart-rending film it is, with outstanding performances by Naomi Harris, Janette Monáe and Mahershala Ali, who secured the Oscar for best supporting actor.
But the triumph of Moonlight should not obscure the success…
Where are the Wikipedia women?
Tuesday, 14 February 2017
As the era of 'Post-Truth' descends, Wikipedia's reliability as a source of information about the past and the present becomes ever more important for anyone who uses the internet for research. It is therefore disturbing to discover how few biographies of women are included.
My first new Wikipedia entry has gone live – at last. Penetrating the wonders and mysteries of Wikipedia editing has…
Magnificent Women campaign launch
Thursday, 2 February 2017
Handmaidens of Death, a ten-minute film by Tracy Gillman
This is my first blog post for Magnificent Women, so I'd like to start by saying a huge THANK YOU to everyone who has made a pledge to the recently launched crowdfunding campaign – and to anyone who feels inclined to do so in the future.
Crowdfunding is much more absorbing and fun than I had imagined. It has given me an excuse…