The name Emmeline Pankhurst is synonymous with the campaign for women in the UK to gain the right to vote. Pankhurst and her fellow suffragettes rallied support for the suffrage movement at meetings held in tearooms across the country – then the only socially acceptable place for women to gather outside the home. Inspired by the suffragettes, on International Women’s Day (March 8th), Suffrage Science: 2013 celebrated the achievements of twelve leading female scientists in the tearoom of the Waldorf Hotel.
Following on from the successful launch of Suffrage Science in 2011, which honoured women in the life sciences, this year we highlighted women in engineering and the physical sciences related to medicine.
Descendants of suffragette leader Emmeline Pankhurst, great-granddaughter Helen and her daughter Laura, presented the women with bespoke heirloom textiles in the form of bracelets. The women will soon also receive bespoke heirloom jewellery – a gesture harking back to days when handcrafted jewellery was presented to noted women of the suffrage movement.
“It was a great event! I was particularly pleased that engineers and scientists had an opportunity to come together, share their experiences and celebrate success,” said President of the Women’s Engineering Society, Milada Williams.
The heirlooms were designed by students at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design. Their designs were showcased at a pop-up exhibition throughout the evening, which also saw the launch of the unique, keepsake publication Suffrage Science: 2013, comprising interviews with the nominated women scientists.
Amid tea and cakes, science writer and broadcaster, Vivienne Parry led a debate on whether Nobel prize-winning physicist Marie Curie would have made it as a woman in science today.
This years nominated women will pass on their heirloom jewellery in 2015 to the next group of excellent female scientists and communicators, in a bid to encourage them to make their way to the top.
The 12 women celebrated this year are:
Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock (Director of Science Innovation Ltd)
Professor Dame Athene Donald (Professor of Experimental Physics, University of Cambridge)
Professor Clare Elwell (Professor of Medical Physics, University College London)
Professor Susan Gathercole (Director of the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, Cambridge)
Professor Dame Julia Higgins (Emeritus Professor of Polymer Science, Imperial College London)
Professor Eileen Ingham (Professor of Medical Immunology, University of Leeds)
Professor Dame Sally Macintyre (Director of the MRC Social and Public Health Science Unit, Glasgow)
Dr Jennifer Nichols (Wellcome Trust-MRC Stem Cell Institute, Cambridge)
Professor Petra Schwille (Director of the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry)
Professor Molly Stevens (Professor of Biomedical Materials and Regenerative Medicine, Imperial College London)
Professor Kathy Skyes (Professor of Sciences and Society, University of Bristol)
Professor Lesley Yellowlees (President of the Royal Society of Chemistry)
View more photos from the event below:
This article was originally published here.