The 23rd June 2018 is International Women in Engineering Day and what better way to celebrate than to pay homage to the women who have made waves in engineering past and present. Sadly those of the past have often been written out of history books, but not today. Today we highlight and celebrate those who were able to overcome adversity and gender discrimination and follow their passion regardless. By doing this we hope to inspire those already in the industry and those who are at school right now, to know that they can follow their dreams too.
All 10 of these women are incredible and this list goes in no particular order….
Edith Clarke was the first female graduate with an electrical engineering degree in the US which she achieved more than 100 years ago in 1908. She went on to work for General Electric and in 1921 patented the Clarke calculator that solved electrical power transmission line problems. She eventually became an engineering professor in Texas – another first for women!
Lillian Gilbreth also became known as the ‘Mother of Modern Management’ in her field of industrial engineering and psychology. Apart from being the first woman to be accepted as a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, she worked with General Electric designing and improving their household and kitchen goods. The mother of 12 really did prove that woman can have both families and careers.
We interviewed Julie last year for the 2017 International Women in Engineering Day and we couldn’t let this year go by without giving her a well-deserved mention (after all she is the MD of Nexus IE).
Although not an Engineer, Julie has worked for many years in the automotive sector and has been with The Innomech Group for more than ten years. Her role includes planning a production schedule and responding to customer requests for maintenance visits and breakdowns. She is enjoying seeing how gender stereotypes are breaking down and although it is slow, more young girls are going into the exciting career of engineering, evening up the gender gap and bringing a new dynamic to the industry.
As a pioneering female research chemist, Stephenie engineered kevlar, the synthetic material which is 5 times as strong as steel and resistant to fire and corrosion. It is used in a variety of products we use today across the world including bulletproof vests, camping equipment, safety equipment, cables and skies.
Hedy Lamarr broke all stereotypes and caused a stir in the 1930’s as she excelled in two exciting careers. As well as being a well-loved star of the silver screen (where she broke records for being part of the first naked sex scene), she also engineered a remote control communication system that was used by the military. This is the same technology that has evolved and given modern engineers the opportunity to create wifi!
Limor “Ladyada” Fried
Limor “Ladyada” Fried is a modern engineering heroine for young girls. She was awarded the Pioneer Award by the Electronic Frontier Foundation for her contribution to the open-source hardware and software community in 2009 and in 2011 was dubbed one of the most influential women in technology in, the same year she became a cover girl on Wired magazine. She is a successful entrepreneur and founded Adafruit Industries, an open source hardware company that designs and manufactures electronics as well as providing educational resources which includes a live video electronics show (the longest running on the internet).
The Girls of Steel
These four girls; Sita, Helaina, Abigail and Daisy are all girls robotics team from East Barnett school who are sponsored by our sister company Innomech. Last year, after their success in the VEX Robotics Championship in the UK, they headed to the VEX World Championships in the US! They are now mentoring other robotics clubs as well as continuing to develop their own skills. We would say that is pretty inspirational!
For us, ‘International Women in Engineering Day’ is definitely a moment to acknowledge, celebrate and look towards a future where younger generations are encouraged and nurtured into a career in engineering regardless of their gender.