23 June 2024 is International Women in Engineering Day (IWED). This is a day for celebrating and promoting the amazing achievements of female engineers around the world.

Although this is the eleventh year that IWED is being celebrated, its roots actually date back to 1919. During the First World War (1914-1918), women took on a variety of engineering jobs that had previously been performed by men. When the war ended, many women wished to continue working in engineering so Lady Katharine Parsons, Rachel Parsons, Janetta Mary Ormsby, Margaret Rowbotham, Margaret Moir and Laura Ann Wilson set up the Women’s Engineering Society (WES) to support and inspire women to undertake careers in engineering. Today, this work is continued by WES and includes the annual celebration of International Women in Engineering Day.

This year, the theme for IWED is “Enhanced by Engineering”, shining a spotlight on the myriad of ways in which the world as a whole and our day-to-day lives have been enhanced by the work of women engineers.

Linked with this year’s IWED are the 2024 Top 50 Women in Engineering Awards, which will celebrate women whose engineering work has enhanced people’s lives around the world. The Women in Engineering Society explains that:

“From pioneering developments in transportation to innovations in healthcare and technology, women engineers in the United Kingdom have significantly enhanced people’s lives. Every day there are examples of where engineering has improved the lives of people, from Caroline Haslett’s 3-pin plug still in use today, to the airbags and seatbelts that contribute to vehicle safety, and the burgeoning development of fast and safe, at-home testing for infections in cancer patients. We can’t wait to see what else women do in 2024.”

The 2024 winners will be announced on IWED.

Dehns staff include a large number of female engineers from various disciplines and many of our clients are ground-breaking female engineers themselves. You can find out more about these inspiring women in the interviews and podcasts on our Women in STEM page.

To mark IWED 2024, Dehns staff have been reading the excellent and illuminating “Invisible Women” by Caroline Criado Perez. As described on Criado Perez’s website, “Invisible Women shows us how, in a world largely built for and by men, we are systematically ignoring half the population. It exposes the gender data gap – a gap in our knowledge that is at the root of perpetual, systemic discrimination against women, and that has created a pervasive but invisible bias with a profound effect on women’s lives”. The book demonstrates how this data gap has had significant negative consequences in areas including town planning, car safety, politics, medical research, healthcare, workplaces, unpaid care work and much more. Despite the ground-breaking work already performed by women around the world, there is still much more to be done. We will be meeting to talk about the book on IWED – it’s sure to be a fascinating discussion.