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5 most influential female engineers #INWED19

female engineer

With only 12.37% of all engineers in the UK being female, there’s currently a huge discrepancy between the number of men and women in engineering professions.

International Women in Engineering Day is all about appreciating and raising the profile of women in engineering and highlighting the amazing career opportunities available to girls in this exciting industry.

To get involved in raising the profile of female engineers and the amazing work they do, we asked everyone at JAM who they think is/was the most inspiring and influential female engineer…

Gwynne Shotwell

Gwynne Shotwell was a teenager when she met a woman working as a mechanical engineer who inspired her to come to be where she is today.

Gwynne has been at SpaceX since 2002, the year the company was founded, and became its president in 2008. By 2012, she’d helped SpaceX become the first privately funded company to s

end a spacecraft to the International Space Station, forever changing the space industry. Under her leadership, SpaceX was also the first private company to send a satellite into geostationary orbit, too.

“I think it’s important to be as public as I can afford to be and to hopefully inspire women to join me in this incredible field,”


Lillian Gilbreth – ‘the first lady of Engineering’

Lillian was one of the first female engineers to earn a PhD and is considered the first

industrial/organisational psychologist. She contributed to industrial engineering by studying workplace patterns and scenarios, then making recommendations for everything from the best order of tasks to the most efficient furniture designs and floor plans for specific workplaces.

Lillian found a niche within engineering which led to her analysing and improving workplace efficiency in job functions performed by both men and women. She laid the foundation for work in what is now known as human factors engineering and ergonomic design. And did we mention that she did all of this in the course of an 80-year career and whilst raising her 12 (yes, 12!) children.

Edith Clarke

Edith Clarke; the first woman to earn an electrical engineering degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the first female professor of electrical engineering at the University of Texas. In 2015, Clarke was added to the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

Edith was well known for becoming the first woman to deliver a paper at the American Institute of Electrical Engineers’ annual meeting, with two of her later papers winning awards. Edith also created the “Clarke Calculator” in 1921, a graphical device that simplified the equations electrical engineers used to understand power lines.

“There is no demand for women engineers, as such, as there are for women doctors; but there’s always a demand for anyone who can do a good piece of work.”

Mary Jackson

NASA’s first black female engineer and mathematician, Mary also took a role later in her career to help women and minorities break into and succeed in the field.

Mary worked with Kazimierz Czarnecki in the Supersonic Pressure Tunnel where she analysed data from wind tunnel experiments and real-world aircraft flight experiments.

Mary Jackson was best known for being one of a small group of African American women who worked as aeronautical engineers, called “human computers,” at NASA during the Space Age.


Peggy Johnson

Peggy Johnson currently serves as Microsoft’s Executive Vice President of Business Development. Johnson and her team were responsible for Microsoft’s $26 billion buyout of LinkedIn in 2016. However, that is not the only time Johnson has come up big for Microsoft.

Peggy Johnson has been recognised by multiple organisations for her achievements as a woman in both technology and business. In 2017, Business Insider recognised her as the most powerful female engineer in the United States.


If you’re interested in embarking on an engineering career, but not sure where to begin, click here to find out the steps you should be taking.

Join in the conversation this International Women in Engineering Day, on Sunday 23rd June 2019.

To help get #INWED19 trending this year, please join us in scheduling a social media post on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn using the #INWED19 hashtag!

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