Today on International Women’s day 2024 we celebrate some of the most influential women in Engineering. we honour those who broke barriers and paved the way for future generations in a field which is seen to be male dominated.

Victoria Drummond (1894-1978) – As the first known woman marine engineer in Britain and the first British woman to serve as a chief engineer, Victoria Drummond broke gender barriers in the maritime industry. She demonstrated exceptional skill and bravery, particularly during World War II, earning numerous awards for her courage and competence at sea.

Beatrice Shilling (1909-1990) – An aeronautical engineer, Beatrice Shilling invented the “Miss Shilling’s orifice” during World War II. This critical device corrected a dangerous flaw in the Rolls-Royce Merlin engines of RAF fighter planes, significantly contributing to the Allied air effort. Shilling’s work showcased her innovative spirit and crucial role in wartime engineering.

Hertha Ayrton (1854-1923) – An inventor, physicist, and engineer, Hertha Ayrton was the first woman to receive the Hughes Medal from the Royal Society for her work on electric arcs and ripples in sand and water. Despite facing societal barriers, she made significant contributions to electrical engineering and physics, becoming a vocal advocate for women’s rights in science and engineering.

Dorothy Buchanan (1899-1985) – As one of the first female members of the Institution of Civil Engineers, Dorothy Buchanan specialized in railway electrification projects. Her work contributed significantly to the development of sustainable transportation solutions in the early 20th century, showcasing her pioneering role in a field that was, at the time, largely male-dominated.

Dame Caroline Haslett (1895-1957) – An electrical engineer and electricity industry administrator, Dame Caroline Haslett dedicated her life to promoting women’s roles in engineering and advocating for the benefits of electricity to ease women’s domestic burdens. As the first secretary of the Women’s Engineering Society and a founder of the Electrical Association for Women, she played a pivotal role in shaping the future of women in engineering.

These historical UK women engineers demonstrated exceptional determination, innovation, and leadership in their respective fields. Their contributions not only advanced the field of engineering but also laid the groundwork for gender equality in STEM professions. Their legacies remind us of the importance of diversity and inclusion in driving forward progress.