Imperial College London

International Women in Engineering Day 2019

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Staff and students celebrate 100 years of WES

The Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering is getting ready for our annual celebration of International Women in Engineering Day #INWED19

All next week, we'll be joining schools and universities, governments, industry and professional engineering institutions to help generate maximum social media impact for the campaign, which takes place on 23rd June each year.

Women make up around 12% of the engineering and technology workforce in the UK, and there is a real need to promote engineering as an exciting, inclusive, and rewarding career, and to highlight the diverse opportunities that exist for women as engineering and technology professionals.

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INWED19 and WES Centenary

2019 is a significant year because #INWED19 is also celebrating 100 years of The Women’s Engineering Society (WES).

Women had been involved in engineering before the outbreak of the First World War, but the emerging industries that sprang from the conflict such as machine- and aero-engineering, and munitions, created many more opportunities for women in engineering roles. After the war, a law was passed to enable (unmarried) women to join professional organisations, and the WES was founded. However, a parallel law (The Restoration of Pre-war Practices Act 1919) effectively meant that women were unable to continue in their engineering jobs, in order to give them to the men returning from war.

The pioneering and influential women who founded WES were engineers and managers - including electrical engineer Dame Caroline Haslett. Many of them had been involved in the suffrage movement, and they made it their mission to help women access training and employment, and to challenge the male-dominated world of engineering.

Today WES is a charity and professional network, working to raise the profile of women engineers, and to ‘remember the past, celebrate the present, and transform the future’ – by promoting engineering as open to everyone.

Celebrating INWED in EEE

For the first INWED celebration in 2017, EEE staff and students were asked to tell us their 'superpowers', as we celebrated 'Men as Allies' with a comic book theme. Last year, we put women in the picture – literally – with an electronic circuit themed gallery of social media portraits of staff and students sharing their engineering story. 

The international theme for #INWED19 is #TransformTheFuture. We'd like to feature as many EEE staff and students as possible again this year - and not just our women. We'll be visiting every level of the building throughout the week with our 'Big 100' celebration cutouts, if you'd like to join in and let us showcase how you're transforming the future, and highlight diversity in engineering - help us send a message to the next generation of young women engineers.

Igniting Sparks Award Nominations

23rd June is also the deadline for our women students to nominate an inspirational school teacher (of any gender) who helped them pursue their education in STEM subjects. Find out how you can nominate your teacher for this award.

Reporter

Jane Horrell

Jane Horrell
Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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Contact details

Tel: +44 (0)20 7594 6263
Email: j.horrell@imperial.ac.uk

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