Celebrating International Women in Engineering Day

This year International Women in Engineering Day is celebrating the amazing work that women engineers around the world are doing, and not just to respond to the pandemic but also to support lives and livelihoods every day.

IWED21 will be profiling the best, brightest and bravest women in engineering, who recognise a problem, then dare to be part of the solution; who undertake everyday ‘heroics’ as much as emergency ones.

IWED day is all about encouraging girls into engineering careers and focuses it’s attention on the numerous opportunities for women in engineering, at a time when it has never been more important to address the engineering skills shortage.

It is critical to encourage girls to consider engineering careers and to help fill the substantial future job opportunities predicted for the engineering sector.

When we think about famous female engineers, we think about many women in science who changed the world as we know it. They were part of the revolution that also altered society’s perception of what women could or could not do. These ladies made a huge difference for every one of us, so let’s learn more about them and their achievements!

Margaret-E-KnightMargaret E. Knight


  • The invention of the flat-bottomed paper bag
  • Improvements to the rotary engine

Margaret E. Knight is the first name on our list of famous female engineers and for all the right reasons. She was a famous female inventor in the 1800s, amassing over 26 patents in her lifetime and establishing the Eastern Paper Bag company.

ada-lovelaceAda Lovelace


  • First to recognise the potential of the Analytical Engine as a computer-like device

Ada Lovelace was a 19th-century mathematician who we now know as the first computer programmer. That’s right! A computer programmer in the 1800s, over 100 years before the computer as we know it had even been invented!

Lovelace is not credited with any inventions but was a forward-thinking genius worthy of the fame she received.

ellen-ochoaEllen Ochoa


  • First Hispanic female to travel to space
  • Three patents in optical equipment

Dr. Ellen Ochoa is an American astronaut who was the first Hispanic female to reach space. She has an impressive career within NASA and is today one of the most famous female engineers in our contemporary world.

She started as a research engineer in 1988, before climbing the ranks to hold prestigious positions, such as director of flight crew operations, deputy center director and even Director of the Johnson Space Centre.

In 1990, she was selected to become an astronaut, going on to serve in 4 space missions, and clocking in at almost 1000 hours in space.
She even operated a robotic arm to transfer supplies and equipment from the shuttle to the International Space Station.

hedy-lamarrHedy Lamarr


  • Frequency hopping invention
  • Improvements to plane aerodynamics

Hedy Lamarr made history with her femme fatale persona on the big screen, working with stars like Clark Gable and Spencer Tracy. But, along with being a starlet, she was also a thriving female inventor.

She devised a method of encrypting signals to prevent enemy spies listening to sensitive information, the underlying method of how we use Wi-Fi today. Without Hedy Lamarr, there would be no wireless communication in our modern world.

It has been a fascinating journey learning about the lives of these outstanding female engineers who cemented the way for all of us in such a male-dominated field. They never allowed what others thought to stop or even slow them for a second.

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