The International Women in Engineering Day (INWED) is a global observance that applauds the impressive work carried out by women engineers across the globe. Orchestrated by the Women’s Engineering Society (WES), the day aims to enhance the visibility of women in engineering and emphasize the exceptional career prospects present in this dynamic sector. This celebration takes place annually on June 23, to commemorate the establishment of the Women’s Engineering Society on the same day in 1919. 1
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The INWED journey began in the United Kingdom in 2014 as a nationwide campaign led by the Women’s Engineering Society. Since its inception, it has gained significant momentum, earning UNESCO patronage in 2016 and achieving global outreach in the subsequent year. The celebration, originally launched as National Women in Engineering Day in the UK on June 23, 2014, by WES, to honor its 95th anniversary, attained international stature in 2017, due to the escalating interest and participation from global audiences.
Official websites of International Women in Engineering Day
The Importance of INWED
Boosts women’s profile in engineering: On Women in Engineering Day, we laud trailblazers like Kimberly Bryant, founder of Black Girls Code, which offers free coding education to young African-American girls, and numerous other luminaries who have significantly contributed to engineering.
Inspires young girls: Engineering, a career packed with endless growth possibilities, is celebrated on June 23, encouraging young girls to explore and establish their niche in this challenging yet captivating industry.
Serves as an advocacy campaign: Women in Engineering Day forms a part of International Women in Engineering Day, instituted to elevate women who have chosen unconventional STEM careers. The day furnishes a platform for women engineers to share their experiences in the technical industry and discuss the obstacles they face in a field dominated by men
Despite women engineers’ noteworthy contributions, they remain underrepresented in this domain. Based on the 2021 data, merely 16.5% of UK engineers are women. INWED plays a crucial part in inspiring more young women and girls to explore engineering as a viable career, thereby striving to rectify this gender disparity. The day also creates a platform to showcase women engineers’ accomplishments, thus motivating the upcoming generation.
Historical Background of Women in Engineering
Women have been instrumental as creators and builders of vital structures and machines even before the term ‘engineer’ emerged in the 11th century. Despite this, they have largely been excluded from domains like engineering. In 1876, Elizabeth Bragg, undeterred by gender biases and discrimination, became the pioneer woman to secure an engineering degree with her Bachelor’s in Civil Engineering from the University of Berkeley, laying a path for thousands of 19th-century women who emulated her footsteps.
Celebrating Women in Engineering Day
INWED is commemorated with diverse events and activities globally. The day witnesses individual dialogues, social media campaigns, and exclusive INWED events. In 2022, the campaign reportedly had a potential reach of 526 million and emerged as a trending topic on Twitter for some time. The day incited over 20,000 separate online dialogues, and the INWED website listed more than 100 dedicated INWED events.
Several ways to observe and commemorate Women in Engineering Day include:
- Support a Student: If you know a woman or girl studying engineering or a related field, use this day to offer encouragement.
- Learn from it: Dedicate the day to learning about useful items invented by innovative women engineers.
- Address the Gap: The ideal way to honor women engineers is by advocating for equal pay. Women in this field still face discrimination and wage disparities. By challenging reduced wage structures, women can affirm their rightful place in the industry.
The Role of the Women’s Engineering Society
The Women’s Engineering Society (WES) is a British charity, established in 1919 following World War I, to support women who, despite technical expertise, faced barriers in sustaining their engineering careers. Currently, WES’ mission is to empower women in engineering to maximize their potential and endorse an inclusive engineering industry.
International Women in Engineering Day holds immense significance as it not only salutes women engineers’ achievements but also heightens awareness of the necessity for gender diversity in engineering. It emphasizes the potential and thrilling career opportunities for women in engineering. The day also offers women engineers a platform to discuss their experiences and the hurdles they encounter in a predominantly male industry. As we commemorate this day, let’s persist in encouraging more women and girls to delve into engineering and leave their indelible mark in this challenging yet exhilarating sector.
What is the hashtag for International Women in Engineering Day?
#INWED+YEAR. For example, in 2023 it is #INWED23
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