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Alongside the push for STEM subjects to be encouraged at schools another push taking place to help increase the number of women engineers in the industry. It’s been agreed that women have been deterred from taking this career path for many years due to preconceived notions about the industry but all that is changing.
Whilst views are being changed, we still don’t hear that much about the achievements of women in engineering so lets take a look at some iconic female engineers that should help inspire the next generation of potential graduates.
Interestingly enough, Emily Roebling never intended to become an Engineer yet is credited with undertaking one of the biggest feats in engineering of the time. She was the Chief Engineer that oversaw the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge in New York.After her husband was paralysed he could no longer manage the workload without the help of his wife.
Emily eventually became responsible for the chief engineering duties including project management and day-to-day supervision of the construction of the bridge. Whilst the bridge was completed in 1883, a plaque can still be found on the bridge honouring both Emily and her husband.
| Alice Perry
Although Alice doesn’t have any examples of engineering to show off per se, her achievements in engineering were groundbreaking at the time. She remains as the only woman to have been a county engineer in Ireland and the first woman to graduate with a degree in engineering in Ireland or Great Britain.
Generally remembered as a star of cinema in the 1930’s & 40’s and for being the woman to bare all in one of cinemas first sex scenes Hedy Lamarr was also responsible for the Frequency Hopping theory.
Never heard of it? The Frequency Hopping theory created a remote controlled communications system for the US Military and is used as the basis for modern communications technology such as Bluetooth and WiFi.
|Stephanie Louise Kwolek
After discovering liquid crystalline polymers whilst working for DuPont, Stephanies discovery led to the production of Kevlar. This material is best known for its use in bullet-proof vests as well as fibre optic cables, radial tyres and safety helmets.
In recognition of her achievements, Stephanie was awarded the National Medal of Technology in 1996, was named to the National Women’s Hall of Fame in 2003 and The American Chemical Society awarded her the Perkin Medal in 1997.
| Beatrice Shilling
As an aeronautical engineer during World War II, Beatrice is recognised as the person responsible for correcting a serious defect in the Rolls-Royce Merlin engines used in the Hawker Hurricane and Supermarine Spitfires. The resulting fix was known as “Miss Shillings Orifice” and is a small metal disc that restricts fuel flow to the carburettor, helping prevent engine stall.
| Dame Caroline Haslett
Caroline’s chief interest was in harnessing the benefits of electrical power to emancipate women from household chores, so that they could pursue their own ambitions outside the home. She eventually became the first secretary of the Women’s Engineering Society and was also the first director of the Electrical Association for Women which pioneered such wonders as the "All-Electric House" in Bristol in 1935
So there we have it, whilst this is not an exhaustive list it certainly goes to show that Women too have made engineering breakthroughs that have helped the world. With the number of women entering this field increasing it shouldn’t be long before the achievements of women are regularly mentioned in the same breath as the achievements of men.
Here at Ambitek we are an equal opportunities recruiter who would love to meet and help any female engineers looking to further their careers in the manufacturing Engineering industry so please feel free to get in touch today!
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