Women Of Steel Fundraiser

24th February 2014

Sheffield businesswomen are backing a campaign to commemorate some of the city's unsung female heroines.

Inspiring Women, a forum of Sheffield Chamber of Commerce, has joined forces with Sheffield City College and the charity Women in Engineering, Science and Technology (WEST) to hold a charity fundraising night at the college's Sparks Restaurant on Thursday, March 6th. The money raised will go towards the £150,000 campaign to commission a Women of Steel statue in the city centre and commemorate the bravery of women, now aged in their 80s and 90s, whose work ethic, stamina and bravery went unrecognised for years. Some of those women will be attending the dinner. Whilst the men of Sheffield fought for their country during the First and Second World Wars, thousands of women were conscripted into the local steel factories. Leaving behind their normal family lives, and under threat of air raids, the women worked to ensure the factories continued to operate. At the end of both wars, the women were dismissed and returned to their old lives as the men returned. Now Inspiring Women has joined forces with Sheffield City College to run a gourmet food tasting and networking evening at Sparks Restaurant which will also see the opportunity to bid for some prizes for auction. The event is open to the public. Tickets are still available. Go to www.scci.org.uk/event/inspiring-women-women-of-steel-dinner for more information. Julie Byrne, Principal of Sheffield City College and The Sheffield College of Applied Engineering, said: "These fantastic women are great role models for today's young women, who wish to pursue a career not normally associated with females, and it's important that we raise their profile." Kate Stephenson, Chair of Inspiring Women, added: "It's crucial that as a city, Chamber and Inspiring Women, we support this fundraising effort. The Women of Steel played an essential role in the war, and we need to show our gratitude to them. It's sad that it's taken this long for them to be recognised. Now is our opportunity." Pat Morton, Chair of WEST, added: "It is important to honour the women who took on these jobs, not only for their role in war but to demonstrate that good jobs in engineering and manufacturing technical careers should be open to women as well as men now and in the future." WEST runs activities, projects and give talks in schools and colleges to encourage more girls and young women to consider careers in science, engineering, technology and the built environment. Inspiring Women helps the city's business community recognise the benefit of the passion, power and dynamism of women in business. The events provide an opportunity for networking, and exchanging ideas. For information go to www.inspiringwomen.org. Facilities at Sheffield City College include a £1.2 million catering wing with industry standard facilities comprising six kitchens, a bakery, a patisserie, and Sparks restaurant which is open to the public. Go to http://www.sheffcol.ac.uk/sparks-restaurant/ to make a reservation or call 0114 2602060.

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