Brianna White

Staff member
Jul 30, 2019
International Women in Engineering Day (INWED) is a significant event that highlights the achievements and contributions of women in the engineering sector. This day, which has gained international recognition, originates in a UK-based campaign initiated by the Women’s Engineering Society (WES) in 2014. By 2016, the campaign received UNESCO patronage; the following year, it was celebrated globally.

The Women’s Engineering Society has a rich history. It was founded in 1919 in the UK. During the First World War, many women were employed in technical fields. However, post-war societal norms and legal changes made it challenging for these women to continue their engineering careers. This led to the establishment of WES by pioneering women who were determined to create opportunities for women in engineering. As the International Women in Engineering website noted, "A change in the law to return women engineers to the home just as their sisters were admitted into the civil service and legal professions led to the establishment of WES by pioneering and influential women."

While there has been progress since the early days of WES, the pace of change remains slow. The Society of Women Engineers, an American professional organization, reports an increase in women in STEM fields in the United States. However, this increase is not uniform across all fields. Engineering, in particular, lags behind life sciences, such as biological sciences, where gender parity has been achieved. Furthermore, the representation of Black and Asian women in engineering fields is notably lower.

As we celebrate International Women in Engineering Day, we must recognize both the progress made and the remaining challenges. This day reminds us of the importance of supporting and encouraging women in engineering and STEM fields, ensuring diversity and inclusion in these critical areas of innovation and development.

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