31 August 2019

Women in trade

The construction and trade industry in Bristol is booming but women are still in the minority within these roles.

This free event celebrates the women working in trade within our city, while highlighting routes into the industry and the challenges that women face.

The day will consist of keynote speakers and panel discussions from women who are working in the trade industry. Confirmed speakers include Karyn Smith MP with more to be announced.

There will be taster workshops for women to try trade activities such as carpentry and welding and a special walk about the life and work of Sarah Guppy – the first woman to patent a bridge and the first to formally design one. She was an engineer, inventor, campaigner, designer, reformer, writer, environmentalist and business woman.

Historically women in Bristol have been prolific and instrumental in a number of key male dominated industries. There are women in our city who are plumbers, electricians and plasterers but they are not easy to find! We want to encourage more women into this industry from all age groups.


  • 11.30am – 11.50am Introduction to the day and the Keynote Speaker Lord Lieutenant of Bristol Peaches Golding OBE
  • 11.50am – 12pm Film
  • 12pm – 12.20pm Women in Trade through history by author Jane Duffus ‘Women who built Bristol’
  • 12.20pm – 1pm Panel discussion: Women in Trade – The barriers and challenges women face  and suggestions to overcome this. Chaired by Jackie Longworth (Chair of Women’s equality network) featuring a panel of Karin Smyth MP, Pepper Barney from Bibo Studio, Fadiya Ahmed from Women in Property and Tracey Blythe from Airbus (Unite rep).
  • 1pm – 1.15pm Break
  • 1.15pm – 2pm Panel discussion: Women working in the trade industry in Bristol. Chaired by Nicki Norman (Director of Services Women’s Aid) featuring a panel of Sarah Holt (electrician), Caroline Henn (Practical Women), Deborah Stanley-Jones (Plumber) and Lisa Stone (Lecturer at Bristol College in Electrical installations).
  • 2pm – 2.30pm Break
  • 3pm – 3.30pm Historical walk curated by Sheila Hannon from Strength Theatre Company with Kim Hicks depicting Sarah Guppy.
  • 2.30pm – 4pm Drop in sessions with women in trade. Round table discussions, apprenticeships and training.
  • 3pm – 4pm Demonstrations at M Shed: Carpentry from Bristol Women’s Workshop and demonstrations from Sarah Holt, Electrician
  • 3pm – 4pm Demonstration by Joanna Williams, Artist Blacksmith at her forge (Fire Iron Art) in the Underfall Yard.

This event is hosted by Bristol Women’s Voice in partnership with M Shed.