In a world where 52% of the population is made up of women, we are truly fortunate that in Europe in 2019, women are no longer considered as merely taking on a ‘support’ role to men. Today, women serve in front line positions alongside their male counterparts as never before.
It is now over 100 years since women were granted the right to the vote in the UK. In some other countries, this happened much later, such as France in April 1944.
Although obtaining women’s suffrage was a great victory for women, the two world wars of the early 20th century were the real catalysts in the evolution of the role of women in society. But the stories of women during the war are still far too often overshadowed, forgotten, sometimes even erased.
Had you paid a visit to the Yorkshire Air Museum 5 years ago, you would have been forgiven for thinking that women had practically no role to play in the history of aviation and that their contribution to the war effort was somewhat limited to cooking for the troops or undertaking other seemingly domestic chores to help men.
The reality is starkly different of course. In 2019 at the Yorkshire Air Museum, we are embarking on a mission to tell the stories of inspiring but also normal women who did their part to protect our country and its way of life. From the pilots to the ammunition workers, women took on hundreds of roles which were crucial during the war.
We are working with young children, with teachers, with our local community, with women’s groups to make changes to perceptions that have very often clouded sensible judgments throughout history and have prevented young women from taking up careers in fields that still appear to be the domain of their male counterparts.
Why should there be more men than women interested in the mechanics of aircraft? Why would people not want to know about their grandmothers’ lives during the war?
Learning about history is critical to understanding the present. ‘Learning’ is also the main tool to achieving success in the future. We are on mission and hope that people will join us and support us in telling these simple but often amazing stories to inspire young generations of women to take up careers in the fields of aviation, history, engineering, art and diplomacy.
Barbara George, Deputy Museum Director, 13th May 2019.
Why do women love to volunteer at the Yorkshire Air Museum?
“There are so many things I enjoy. The atmosphere of the whole place, the team – both staff and volunteers – who are all approachable to give information, help and support. Overall, I just enjoy coming to be part of the ongoing maintenance, development and ever improving story of the Yorkshire Air Museum”. Lesley Coupland, Museum Guide.
The Museum is incredibly lucky to have an increasingly large community of dedicated volunteers who support the work and mission of the Museum Management day-in day-out.
Over the past year, more women than ever have joined us and integrated our wonderful teams, each bringing with them a diversity of skills, willingness to take part in new activities but mostly a fresh positive attitude much appreciated by their male counterparts.
“I enjoy the camaraderie and banter, I love the Memorials and Chapel, the Dragonfly which led to me joining and, of course, the Eastchurch Kitten which I helped my late friend Mac to build.”Marie Taylor, Heritage Aircraft Technician.
From museum guiding, historical research, customer service, aircraft restoration, engineering, collections care, Memorial commemorations, retail and catering, museum management and event organisation, there are a number of great opportunities and exciting activities for women to get involved in at the Yorkshire Air Museum. And if you have particular skills for an activity that we do not yet cover, we are always open to new suggestions and new projects.
“My favourite thing about the Museum would have to be the amazing Collections department, full of memorabilia.” Mary Lagan, Admissions Steward.
If you are interested in becoming involved with the Museum and would like to learn more about becoming a volunteer, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or go to this great source of information on volunteering here at the Museum