We’re kicking off #WomenMakeSheffield with Sheffield Film Co-op. Formed in 1975, SFC was a feminist media co-op whose films explored issues inc reproductive rights, domestic violence, & women’s history. We’ve shared one of SFC’s films, “Jobs For The Girls”, which highlights discrimination in the job market in 1978: “Pat wants to be a motor mechanic but finds little support from school, family and friends”. To watch and find out more, check out their Vimeo page, and their blog by Angela Martin.
2. Oona King, Baroness King of Bow
Born in Sheffield, Oona King, Baroness King of Bow (@Oona_King) is Google’s Director of Diversity Strategy. In 1997, King made history when she became the second Black woman (& the 200th woman) to become an MP. To find out more about Oona’s story, go to her website here.
3. Mary Anne Rawson
Mary Anne Rawson (1801-1887) was a slavery abolitionist who founded the Sheffield Ladies Anti-Slavery Society with her mother Elizabeth Read, calling for immediate abolition. Her home of Wincobank Hall was a hub for philanthropy & radical politics.
4. The Women of Steel
Hundreds of Sheffield women worked in steelworks & heavy industry during WWII, making Spitfire parts & munitions. The Women of Steel were vital in the war effort. Visit their commemorative statue at Barker’s Pool (right). To read up on the lives of the Women of Steel, go to this page on Lacuna Voices.
5. Dorrett Buckley-Greaves, MBE
Content warning: Discussion of the Windrush scandal. Dorrett Buckley-Greaves MBE came to Sheffield from Jamaica in 1956. She was a founding member of @sadaccawicker, becoming a pillar of the Burngreave community. Listen to Dorrett discussing how SADACCA was founded here, and see a recent response from SADACCA on the Windrush scandal of 2018 below.
6. Sheffield Women Against Pit Closures
Established in the 1980s, Sheffield Women Against Pit Closures protested the eradication of the mining industry, largely under Thatcher. From 1992-93 SWAPC set up Houghton Main Pit Camp to fight for the protection of miners’ jobs. Here is a page remembering the work of SWAPC.
7. Grace Clough MBE
Grace Clough MBE (@GraceClough) is a rower from Steel City & @ParalympicsGB gold medallist. Starting out at the ParalympicsGB Sports Fest in Sheffield in 2013, Grace quickly mastered her sport, and she’s now triple world champion. Read more about her story on the British Rowing website here.
8. Professor Laura Serrant OBE
Professor Laura Serrant OBE (@lauraserrant) is Regional Head of Nursing for the North East & Yorkshire. She has taught at @sheffhallamuni, is a healthcare expert across broadcast media and is an award-winning keynote speaker within the sector. Read more about her story here, and how she was named eighth most influential Black person in the UK.
9. Adela Pankhurst
From 1910-12 Adela Pankhurst (1885-1961) lived on Marlborough Rd. She & fellow WSPU organiser Helen Archdale led a mass evasion as part of the 1911 census boycott, in an act of civil disobedience. They also opened a #suffrage shop at 26-28 Chapel Walk. Her biography can be found on Mapping Women’s Suffrage, here.
10. Wildcat Cards
Established in Sheffield in 1988, Wildcat Cards was a feminist art collective, by Sheffield-based cartoonist Fi Frances, which made women’s art more accessible by producing cards & posters. They also created artwork for campaigns including SWAPC. Their archive lives @SheffArchives (see here). Check out a tweet by Steel City Queer History’s, which highlights some of the LGBTQ+ cartoons in the collection.
11. Ethel Haythornthwaite
Ethel Haythornthwaite (1894-1986) was a pioneering environmental activist whose love of the outdoors drove her to campaign to protect the Peak District & set up CPRE Peak District and South Yorkshire @cprepdsy. Read about Ethel’s work & her archive here.
12. Sahira Irshad
In 2018 Sahira Irshad founded Mums United (@mumsunitedshef), a charity tackling youth violence & child drug exploitation. Sahira was named @SYCF1986‘s Community & Environmental Champion in 2019 in recognition of her work. Check out Mums United’s ‘year in review’ below for 2020, exhibiting the crucial work that they undertake. More on Mums United here.
13. Gertrude Wilkinson
In 1919, Gertrude Wilkinson (born in 1884, right) became one of the first ever women (with Eleanor Barton) to win a seat on @SheffCouncil, elected as a Labour councillor. A former teacher, Wilkinson pushed for educational reforms. More on her history here.
14. Eleanor Barton
The other woman to be elected to @SheffCouncil in 1919 was Eleanor Barton (1872-1960), a Co-operative Guild activist from Manchester. Barton was active in socialist & cooperative movements, becoming director of the Co-op Newspaper Publishing Society. More on her history here.
15. Louise Jennings
Louise Jennings (1919-2018) was a trans WW2 veteran who fought at the Battle of Dunkirk. She was also a gifted artist whose work depicts Sheffield’s vibrant cultural life in C20th, like this painting of @SheffieldLyceum on Xmas Eve 1932. Find out more about her story here and in the video below.
16. Ade Solanke
Screenwriter & playwright Ade Solanke (@SporaStories) studied English Lit @ShefEnglish. Her debut play Pandora’s Box explored the experiences of British-born African diasporans. She’s won many accolades inc Best Playwright at the Afro-Hollywood Awards. Check out Spora Stories here, which Ade founded and directs.
17. Amy Johnson CBE
After studying @SheffieldUni from 1923-1925, pilot Amy Johnson CBE (1903-1941) went on to become the first British-trained woman ground engineer & a world-famous aviator, earning the title of first woman to fly solo to Australia in 1930. Read about her history here.
18. Désirée Reynolds
Désirée Reynolds (@DesreeReynolds) is an author, journalist, DJ & self-described ‘South Londoner up North’. She edited @SheffieldUni‘s ‘Writing As Resistance’ (2018) & contributed to @commapress‘s ‘The Book of Sheffield’ (2019). Check out her website here, and a reading of Désirée’s short story below, ‘Born on Sunday, Silent’, featuring in the Comma Press anthology, The Book of Sheffield, edited by Catherine Taylor.
19. Ellie Simpson
Ellie Simpson (@TheActualEllie) is an ambassador for Cerebral Palsy Sport (@CP_Sport) & founded @CPTeensUK. She studied @sheffhallamuni and has won various medals, including two gold medals in the World Cerebral Palsy Games. More on her story at Sheffield Hallam University here, and in the video below.
20. Dr. Helen Sharman
Dr. Helen Sharman is a chemist, @SheffieldUni alumnus, and the first British astronaut to visit the Mir space station in May 1991, where she conducted medical & agricultural experiments. Learn about Dr. Sharman’s journey here.
21. Ros Wall
Ros Wall (1954/5-2010) was a pioneering feminist, socialist & educator. In 1985 she and two friends set up Gwenda’s Garage, training women as mechanics. WEST (Women in Engineering, Science and Technology) was established in memory of Ros to encourage women to take up roles in non-traditional careers. Ros was also a founder member of Sheffield Lesbian Line & Sheffield Women’s Cultural Club. More about Gwenda’s Garage here.
22. Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill
Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill (@J_Ennis) is a three-time world champion heptathlete, raised in the Steel City. She began her athletics career from a young age, and made history in the 2012 London Olympic Games with her gold medal. Read more about her story via her website here.
23. Anne Knight
Anne Knight (1786-1862) was a slavery abolitionist and campaigner for universal suffrage & women’s rights. Active in the Quakers’ political organising, in 1851 she formed the first ever UK women’s suffrage organisation, the Sheffield Female Political Association. Read a biography of Anne here.
24. Barbara Wasiak
Barbara Wasiak (1961/2 – 2007) was a photographer who documented Sheffield’s underground music scene in the 80s-90s. She captured Steel City in cultural & political flux, from the privatisation of public services to legendary club nights. Read a tribute to Barbara’s work here.
25. Professor Amaka Offiah
Professor Amaka Offiah (@ACOffiah) is Chair in Paediatric Musculoskeletal Imaging & Honorary Consultant Paediatric Radiologist @SheffieldHosp, improving diagnosis of child abuse with bone & muscle imaging. She’s also Chair of @sheffielduni BAME Staff Network. Read Amaka’s University of Sheffield profile here, and listen to more on her work in the video below.
26. Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign
Content warning: Police brutality. On 18 June 1984, a violent clash known as the Battle of Orgreave occurred between South Yorkshire Police & protesters. @orgreavejustice was founded in 2012 to expose the ensuing police coverup, and women continue to lead this work. See their website here.
27. Dami Okhiria
Dami Okhiria is a medic @SheffieldUni & an award-winning spoken word artist. Dami’s poetry explores issues including public health, race, & women’s issues, and she’s won multiple poetry slams including @htcambridge. Listen to ‘The Unexpected’ below via Dami’s YouTube channel, and read an interview with Dami on Our Favourite Places here.
28. Dame A. S. Byatt & Margaret Drabble
Novelists & sisters Dame A. S. Byatt (left) & Margaret Drabble (right) were born & raised here in Sheffield. Byatt’s 1990 novel ‘Possession’ won the @BookerPrizes, while Drabble won the 2011 Golden PEN Award for a lifetime’s service to literature. See Dame A. S. Byatt’s biography here, and Margaret Drabble’s biography here.
29. Paulette Edwards
Paulette Edwards (@pauletteish) is a @BBCSheffield presenter who has sparked important conversations on issues including mental health (with @SheffieldMind), wellbeing & emotion, homelessness awareness (with @RoundaboutSheff) and much more. Listen to Paulette in the video below talking about how she became involved with the work of Roundabout Sheffield.
30. Professor Vanessa Toulmin
Professor Vanessa Toulmin (@ProfessorVaness) is Sheffield’s Director of City & Culture and producer of @FestivalMind. She founded (and directs) the National Fairground & Circus Archive @SpecCollShef, which captures popular entertainment from 17th Century onward. See details about the National Fairground & Circus Archive here.
31. Warda Yassin
Warda Yassin (@warda_ahy) is a British-born Somali poet, teacher, & Sheffield Poet Laureate. She’s won many awards, including @FoundationSwift‘s Women Poets’ Prize 2020. Check out her @PoetryBusiness pamphlet ‘Tea With Cardamom’ here.
Some of the wonderful tweets from those who engaged with the #WomenMakeSheffield campaign.