Pembury Evening WI was formed in 1964 and we have a membership of about 35. We meet on the 1st Friday of the month at Pembury Village Hall. We have a wide range of speakers.
Below is part of our latest newsletter, the full one can be seen in the news section of our website and is a taster of what we did at our last meeting.
NOVEMBER MEETING – We welcomed Delia Taylor who spoke about The Impact of World War One on Women. Delia, who is a member of Matfield WI, has been a speaker for over 15 years and surprised us when she told us that Women first got rights in the Magna Carta. When the Lord of the Manor died the new Lord had 40 days to find the widow a new home, which is why there are often Dowager Cottages in the grounds of the Manor. However nothing changed after that and men considered the women’s place was in the home and all women were second class citizens. In 1903 the Women’s Suffrage Movement was born. The Women’s Social & Political Union only had 5000 members while the less militant National Union of Women’s Suffrage Society led by Millicent Fawcett had 50,000 members. When war was declared in 1914 the women stopped the suffragette work to support the war effort. As the men went to war the Government realised women could help keep the country running as so they became, amongst other things, Munition workers, Firewomen, Clippies and Drivers on Buses, Telephone Operators and MI5 spies. There were women heroes in the war inc Edith Cavell who was executed in October 2015 and Prof. Miona Michael who read the poem In Flanders Field and made the Poppy a sign of Remembrance. Once the war was over the suffragettes resumed their effort to get votes for Women and in 1918 this was achieved for those over 30. It was interesting to be told that in Switzerland women did not get the vote till 1971 and in Liechtenstein 1984! After the war women were also expected to give way to the men and return to pre-war women’s work but that was never going to happen and during WW2 women worked alongside the men as Pilots and Codebreakers at Bletchley. Delia then mentioned a few women whose work was to change the way we lived. Ada Lovelace, the first computer programmer whose notes helped Alan Turing invent the Enigma machine and Hedy Lamont invented frequency hopping, a precursor of technology inc GPS.