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International Women in Engineering Day: #ImaginetheFuture

22 June 2022
Written by Colette Cohen OBE

In 1921 Edith Clarke invented the Clarke Calculator which revolutionised graphing for electrical properties and made her the first female engineer. Since then, Patricia Bath developed the Laser-Phaco Probe, an advancement in laser technology to cure cataracts, Mary Winter Jackson, became the first African-American female to work as an aeronautical engineer for NASA, Ada Lovelace became the very first computer programmer, Yvonne C. Brill invented the fuel-efficient rocket thruster that keeps satellites in orbit today, Mary Kendrick led team working on the Thames Barrier, and Marissa Mayer has gone from creating yahoo to working on artificial intelligence… I could go on…

Inspiring women, each with trailblazing solutions, who entered the profession of engineering at a time when opportunities for women were limited.

As innovation becomes crucial to solve our world’s biggest challenges, we need more women to take their seat at the table.

Even with a history of female innovation, in 2022, we are faced with the fact that only 16.5% of engineers are women. Maybe because we have not celebrated that rich history of female innovators enough. Not made these trailblazers household names. We need to demystify engineering for women. Make it open to every curious mind, every person who loves to solve a problem or make the world a better place.

That is what engineers do.

So, as we celebrate International Women in Engineering Day 2022, giving centre stage to those who have, and those that will pave the way for the next generation of female innovators… let’s imagine the future.

A future that has been made possible by the inspirational women that have come before us but will be made amazing by the women working today, the students studying today….you.  A future that celebrates female engineering role-models and makes a conscious effort to give them a platform, make them visible, so the next generation can see the real and exciting possibilities out there. A future that is free of bias and harnesses the wide range of benefits that comes with diversity of thought. And not just for a more efficient workforce, but for a society that lets everyone use their voice and take that first step to success.

That’s a future that sounds powerful. And we need to make it a reality.

Today,  I’m taking a moment to recognise the women I’ve been lucky enough to have worked with during my career. Individuals who have demonstrated tenacity, grit and ingenuity. And I’d ask YOU to do the same… make them known. Tell your children, inspire the next generation to join us in solving the worlds biggest and smallest challenges.

#ImaginetheFuture #HelloFuture #InspiringOthers #INWED2022

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