The History Of International Women in Engineering Day

In 2024 we proudly celebrate the 11th annual International Women In Engineering Day (INWED). A momentous occasion that shines a spotlight on the remarkable women who have carved a path for future generations in the field of engineering, commemorating the achievements of pioneering female engineers across the globe. INWED is a global celebration of female engineers, uniting individuals across continents to honour their successes and contributions to the engineering world. But where did it all begin?

Although INWED has only been around for a little over a decade, its roots date back to 1919, following the end of the First World War. During the conflict, many women embraced engineering roles and were determined to continue their careers in the field as the world returned to normality and the Women’s Engineering Society was formed.The society was founded by a group of trailblazing women dedicated to empowering women in engineering; Lady Katharine Parsons, Rachel Parsons, Janetta Mary Ormsby, Margaret Rowbotham, Margaret Moir and Laura Ann Wilson. Since then, the Women’s Engineering Society has played a vital role in promoting gender equality in the field while inspiring young women to pursue careers in engineering.

In 2014, in celebration of our 95th anniversary, the Women’s Engineering Society founded the National Women In Engineering day which provides a platform to showcase successes and achievements of female engineers. In 2017 the day received UNESCO patronage with its continued growth – officially becoming an internationally recognised day.

International Women in Engineering Day has become a platform to showcase the incredible work of women engineers worldwide. Each year events and activities are organised across the globe to raise the profile of women in engineering, acting as a source of encouragement and support, empowering female engineers to reach their potential. This day not only celebrates the achievements of women in engineering, it inspires young professionals and aspirational engineers alike.

Despite the progress made, engineering remains a male-dominated industry, with only 16.5% of engineers in the UK being female. INWED aims to provide a platform for female engineers, playing a crucial role in encouraging young women to pursue engineering. This year our theme is #EnhancedByEngineering – profiling the best, brightest and bravest women in engineering, who have enhanced people’s everyday lives and are helping to build towards a brighter future.

As we delve into the rich history of International Women in Engineering Day, let us remember the trailblazing women who have shaped the engineering world and continue to inspire the next generation of female engineers. By working together, we can work towards a more inclusive and diverse future in engineering, fostering an environment where women can thrive and contribute their unique talents to an ever evolving field that has the potential to change lives for the better.