100-year-old woman of steel receives honorary degree from University of Sheffield | New

0

A Sheffield inspiration who sparked a seven-year national campaign to recognize the role of women metalworkers during war has been made an honorary Doctor of Engineering by the University of Sheffield.

  • Sheffield icon Kathleen Roberts, 100, has been awarded an honorary doctorate in engineering by the University of Sheffield, following her campaign to have the city’s women of steel recognized
  • The only surviving woman of steel, Kathleen was part of a strong team of women who fought for recognition for women steel workers during the war.
  • The nationwide campaign led to official government recognition, raised almost £170,000 and led to the unveiling of a memorial statue in Sheffield’s Barker’s Pool in 2016.
  • At 100, Kathleen is the oldest recipient of an honorary degree from the University of Sheffield

A Sheffield inspiration who sparked a seven-year national campaign to recognize the role of women metalworkers during war has been made an honorary Doctor of Engineering by the University of Sheffield.

At the start of World War II, Kathleen Roberts, now 100, was called up to work in the steel mills while the men went off to fight, but was mercilessly fired along with hundreds of her female colleagues by the end of the war. hostilities.

With the Sheffield Star and three friends, Kathleen campaigned for women to be recognized for the vital role they played during the war and raised almost £170,000 to erect a memorial statue at Barker’s Pool, Sheffield, and provide medallions to Surviving Women of Steel and their families.

It’s 82 years since Kathleen was called up alongside other city women to keep Sheffield’s steel industry running during World War II while the men were overseas. She was only 18 at the time and had to work grueling 72-hour weeks while being paid less than men doing the same job.

Conditions were poor and the air-raid shelters were full of rats, so if the air-raid siren went off the women instead put on tin helmets and carried on with their work. Although it is not known exactly how many women worked in the city’s steel mills during the war, it is estimated that there were hundreds, if not thousands, of all walks of life, working in all fields, machine operators heavy on crane operators.

Despite their enormous contribution to the war effort, when the soldiers returned home, Kathleen and the others were told they were outnumbered and encouraged not to talk about what they had been through.

For 64 years Kathleen stuck to this, but in 2009 she was watching a TV documentary about the Women’s Land Army and its wartime role in feeding the country and something snapped. Why were others recognized for their efforts when the Sheffield Women of Steel had been overlooked? Encouraged by her family, she called the Sheffield Star and told his story.

Along the way, Kathleen, who is the only surviving Woman of Steel, made three friends – Kitty Sollitt, Ruby Gascoigne and Dorothy Slingsby – who joined her campaign to see Women of Steel finally recognized.

A monumental fundraising effort began, which saw concerts held, cake sales and coffee mornings, and even an invitation from 10 Downing Street for a reception with the Prime Minister. Almost £170,000 was raised in total and the campaign officially ended in 2016 with the unveiling of the iconic statue in Barker’s Pool, Sheffield. The money also paid for hundreds of commemorative medallions to recognize Sheffield’s Women of Steel.

At 100, Kathleen is the oldest recipient of an honorary degree from the University of Sheffield, which she received in a small ceremony with family and friends.

Kathleen Roberts said: “It was such a surprise when I first learned that I would be receiving an honorary degree in engineering, but I feel so honored and privileged to accept it on behalf of all those women of steel who have helped build ‘war effort.

“During the Women of Steel campaign, I had the pleasure of meeting female engineering students who are now well on their way to an engineering career. My advice to students would be to get as much practical experience as possible. You can’t learn everything from a book.

“But above all, seize all the opportunities that allow you to realize your dreams.”


Contact

For more information, please contact:


Source link

Share.

Comments are closed.