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100 Years of Female Fellows

100 years of female fellows logo

2019 marks the 100th anniversary of female Fellowship of the Geological Society. 

Throughout the year we will be highlighting the work of our pioneering early members, as well as celebrating the contributions women have made to the geosciences before and since.

Get involved! 


Oral history project

To mark the anniversary, we’re embarking on an oral history project in partnership with our History of Geology Group to capture the memories of female Fellows; particularly those who have been members for a long period of time. In doing so, we hope to both enhance our oral history archives, and provide a more balanced and accurate representation of the Society’s heritage.

If you have memories you would like to share with us, whether via interview or more informally, we would love to hear from you. 

Please contact outreach@geolsoc.org.uk, or write to us at:

Oral History Project
The Geological Society of London
Burlington House
Piccadilly
London
W1J0BG


The first female Fellows

Following the 1918 Representation of the People act, the Geological Society’s Council appointed a committee to consider 

‘The most convenient and expeditious way of effecting the admission of women into the Society.’ 

A simple amendment was made to the byelaws:

‘Article XXIII. Interpretation – In the interpretation of these Bye-Laws words in the masculine gender only, shall include the feminine gender also.’

On 21 May 1919, eight women were elected as Fellows of the Geological Society:

  • Margaret Crosfield (1859-1952) 
  • Gertrude Elles (1872-1960) 
  • Maria Matilda Gordon (1864-1939) 
  • Mary Sophia Jonston (1875-1955) 
  • Mary Jane Donald (1855-1935) 
  • Rachel MacRobert (1884-1954) 
  • Mildred Blanche Robinson (1865-1935) 
  • Ethel Gertrude Skeats (1865-1939)


Library Exhibition

Benett thumb

Women and geology in the 19th century

Using a selection of sources from the Library and Archive collections, this exhibition highlights just some of the contributions of women to this most masculine of sciences in the first half of the 19th century.