I’ve recently met some very interesting people as part of my role as women in construction champion.
This week I went to an event at City Hall about Project Sculpture. The project will be launched on Friday 23 June, International Women in Engineering Day (#INWED17). Speakers included:
- Tom Copley of the London Assembly
- Karen Livesey
- Dawn Bonfield MBE, Past President of the Women’s Engineering Society
- Barbara Hepworth Trust.
This is part of the ‘Ladies’ bridge’ project. During the war women were allowed to take responsibility for the engineering project, but afterwards their contribution was played down. Men returning from the war didn’t like to think of women taking ‘their’ jobs.
The ‘Ladies’ bridge’ project celebrates the women’s contribution. Karen Livesey and Christine Wall worked for around ten years to get a blue plaque put onto the bridge. As part of their research they discovered amazing photographs which they have published on the Ladies’ bridge website.
Now they want to erect a sculpture on Waterloo bridge to celebrate the engineering and technical work of women during the world wars.
A competition during the 1940s invited designs for sculptures to sit on the four plinths of the bridge. Barbara Hepworth was one of the artists whose designs were shortlisted. The Barbara Hepworth Estate is allowing her designs to be used as inspiration for the sculpture. As part of the Thames Festival in September 2017, a national schools activity will challenge children to build their own sculptures. These will be exhibited in September 2018, and ultimately a permanent sculpture will be erected on the bridge.
I studied Barbara Hepworth as part of my arts degree, so I am particularly excited by the project.
Several of the people I’ve met have been very interested in the schools workshops which I’m developing to encourage children to consider careers in engineering and construction.
I also attended National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) networking events, where I met some very interesting female engineers. That’s where I met Diana Chrouch. Diana invited me to a meeting earlier this week to discuss the 100 years suffragette movement project for 2018 with artist Mary Branson.
As well as all the work on Project Sculpture, I’m attending several other events around International Women in Engineering Day on Friday 23 June.
Tonight is the IET women in engineering meeting to celebrate and inspire young women in engineering. Speakers include Jay Surti, Sandra Dudley and Yasmin Ali.
I will attend a diversity and inclusion in engineering event on Friday at The Royal Academy of Engineering. I’m looking forward to hearing Sophie Jarvis, the keynote speaker, and also Harry Briggs, Dr Hayaatun Sillem, and Maureen Taylor.
There’s also an ICE networking event with talks from leading women in the engineering industry at the London Transport Museum on Friday evening, but unfortunately I can’t go. I really do need to spend some time with my husband and family!