International Women In Engineering Day

International Women in Engineering Day is observed annually on June 23. It is a day that attempts to shine a light on the engineering achievements of women, despite the fact that they are often overlooked.

Although engineering has traditionally been seen as a male-dominated field, many women over the years have made significant contributions. Fortunately, this day provides the opportunity to take a good hard look at women in the engineering field and give them the accolades and recognition they deserve.

The History of International Women in Engineering Day

It’s time for people to get real. Even before engineering was recognized as a formal profession in the 17th century, women were contributing their skills. During this time, they would have to work as inventors, and there were plenty who did just that.

For example, Sarah Guppy patented a bridge foundation, and Tabitha Babbit invented the first circular saw. In 1809, Mary Dixon Kies became the first American woman to receive a patent for her process of weaving straw. So, women have been involved in engineering from the beginning.

Throughout the 19th century, women worked alongside men in erecting bridges, constructing buildings, and designing railroads. During the early 20th century, many women engineers had the knowledge to do the job but were relegated to positions as assistants or drafters.

Things began to improve during World War II when a large portion of the male population contributed to the war effort. Women began to get more engineering work during this time, but they still faced significant barriers in the industry and plenty of discrimination.

During the 1960s, progress became real for many women. Lillian Gilbreth became the first woman to be elected to the National Academy of Engineering. Since then, several awards have been named in her honor that are given to young American engineers who are outstanding in their field. As the years have passed, more women are entering the engineering field.

National Women in Engineering Day was launched in 2014 by the Women’s Engineering Society in the UK. It was observed in the United Kingdom for several years before it became an international holiday and was renamed International Women in Engineering Day.

Observing International Women in Engineering Day

This is a great day for people to learn more about the women who were pioneers in the engineering field. This includes Ada Lovelace (creator of the world’s first computer program in the 19th century), Stephanie Kwolek (American chemist who invented Kevlar), and Katherine Johnson (American space scientist who was instrumental in NASA’s first manned flights).

And that’s a short list. We could spend the entirety of this article talking about the women engineers who have made the world a better place. People can also take the time to celebrate a female engineer they may know, or by supporting STEM programs for young girls.

It’s also a good day to spread the word about STEM and this holiday by using the hashtag #InternationalWomenInEngineeringDay on social media. This is a day to celebrate women in engineering, both past and present.

When is it?
This year (2024)
June 23 Sunday
Next year (2025)
June 23 Monday
Last year (2023)
June 23 Friday
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