Celebrating women in engineering

On Friday 23 June 2023, we celebrated International Women in Engineering Day (INWED) with a campaign to highlight some of the inspiring women* in our School community.

INWED was established by the Women’s Engineering Society to promote the achievements of women engineers across the globe and encourage more young women and girls to enter the profession. The campaign celebrated its 10th year in 2023, and is the only platform of its kind.

INWED highlights that women are still significantly under-represented in engineering, with 2021 figures indicating that in the UK only 16.5% of engineers are women. Our campaign shone a spotlight on the achievements of some of the women in our community, along with current opportunities and barriers facing women in engineering, and what our School is doing to encourage more women into the profession.

Elizabeth Georgeson Fellows: A trailblazing tradition

We created the Elizabeth Georgeson Fellowship in 2022 – named after Scotland’s first female engineering graduate – to encourage talented postdoctoral researchers from underrepresented groups to pursue careers in engineering academia.

Elizabeth Helen MacLeod Georgeson (b. 1895) was born in the West End of Glasgow, and started studying engineering at the University of Edinburgh in 1916, at the height of World War I. After graduating with a first class certificate of merit in mechanical engineering, Georgeson became one of the first women to become an articled pupil to a surveyor and went on to work at Sheffield Laboratories for Safety in Mines Research (later the Health and Safety Laboratory – HSE). Several Elizabeth Georgeson Fellowship posts will be offered annually to postdoctoral candidates who identify as female and/or are from underrepresented ethnicities, socio-economic backgrounds, and those with disabilities.

Watch our video interviews with the two inaugural Elizabeth Georgeson Fellows Dr Winifred Obande and Dr Desen Kirli

Inspiring the next generation of engineers

We also interviewed our Student Recruitment and Outreach Officer Dr Katie Grant, about her work to inspire children and young people across the UK into engineering.

Dr Grant spoke about why outreach activities are so important in introducing more girls and young women to STEM, and to help them see engineering as a fun subject which can be used to creatively solve problems and generate positive changes in society. Dr Grant explained our partnership with Primary Engineer, an educational charity set up by Dr Susan Scurlock MBE to bring engineering into the classroom for schools across the UK.

Watch Dr Grant’s interview.

*inclusive of cisgender and transgender women.

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