international womens day

08.03.2018

International Women’s Day

In Honour of International Women’s day we wanted to pay respects to all of the incredible women who have worked for Timsons over the last century.

Engineering has always largely been a male dominated profession, and recent statistics published by the WISE campaign (Women into Science and Engineering) indicate that women made up 11% of the total number of engineering professionals in the UK in 2017. According to figures cited by WES (Women’s Engineering Society) this is an increase from 9% in 2015. So while women are still greatly underrepresented in engineering, statistic suggest a positive linear rise in the number of women entering the profession.

1914 saw the UK propelled into war; an event that unbeknown to people at the time would present women with the biggest opportunity to showcase their capabilities in industries previously closed to them. It would also fuel the fire of women’s suffrage which had been steadily burning since the mid ninetieth century.

Timsons was initially founded by Arthur Timson and Charles Bullock, who were later joined by Charles Barber. The three men were partners in the firm “Timson, Bullock & Barber” until 1914 when Barber left the company to join the armed forces

It is in 1915 that we see the first women employed at the works, as part of a nationwide campaign to get women into work to release men to the war effort. An extract from a letter written by Alf Dickinson to Ernest Timson (Arthur’s son) at the time, conveys a feeling verging on amusement toward the new female workforce.

“You ought to see our munition girls, we are getting a crowd. We have one now who reminds me of a travelling circus. … She’s the limit … The other day she cut her finger – only just a scratch – but when we bandaged it up she was so pleased that she fell flop on her back in a dead faint outside the storeroom door … A cup of water was brought and sprinkled over her forehead whereat she revived with lightening rapidity.”

It is not clear from our limited information how many women remained with the company after the war, but there was a great pressure more widely for women to leave their jobs in order to create availability for the returning men. It wasn’t until the Second World War that women appear to return to the company when called upon to assist in munitions work.

Women are now widely praised for their contribution to the war efforts of 1914 and 1939, as we come to better understand how important their labours were to the war effort. Although the numbers of women in engineering were the highest they had ever been during the wartime years, they would reduce significantly thereafter, and would never recover.

Timsons has come a long way since then, and though unfortunately we have never boasted huge numbers of female engineers, the past decade has seen a small number come and go. However, all of the women who work for TEL now perform equally important roles and are fundamental members of the team.

Jane Brown: Owner
Sam Bounds: Foundry Supervisor
Emma Nichols: Accountant and ERP Manager
Delia Hardwick: Accounts Assistant
Samantha Walker: Sales and Lead Generator

To all of these women, and women all around the world, those past and present – Happy International Women’s Day.

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