Winners of top 50 women in engineering revealed

Published:  23 June, 2021

The Women’s Engineering Society (WES) has announced the winners of the Top 50 Women in Engineering: Engineering Heroes awards. Now in its sixth year, the 2021 WE50 celebrates women who have made a significant contribution to helping their organisation, community or indeed the world functioning during the last year.

Even in the current climate, the number and standard of nominations were high, emphasising the exceptional achievements made by women in this field. The WE50 awards were judged by a panel of industry experts.

Head Judge, Professor Catherine Noakes OBE CEng FIMechE FIHEEM said of the awards, “2020 was a year unlike any other and remarkable times call for remarkable people. That is why, in 2021, the Top 50 Women in Engineering Awards celebrate the engineering heroes who have responded to the challenges of an ever-changing world, from healthcare and climate change to infrastructure and championing diversity, with inspirational innovation and leadership. With over 230 nominations, only the exceptional made it to the top 50.

The standard of nominations received was outstanding. It was wonderful to read about the achievements of these extraordinary women and the impact that they are making on society with their talent, hard work and dedication.

The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted how truly important science, technology and engineering are to the health of our planet. The 2021 WE50 personify the inventive and inclusive thinking needed to build a sustainable future. If there was ever a time that we needed these heroes in engineering, it is now.”

WES’ CEO Elizabeth Donnelly MSc FRSA MRAeS MINCOSE observed, “The literal definition of hero, meaning “protector” or “defender” could not be more apt in the current climate. Often the unsung heroes, the past year has seen the world faced with challenges which have highlighted the immeasurably important role that those working in engineering, technology and the applied sciences play in safeguarding our way of life.

Engineers have provided PPE which has enabled medical professionals dealing with the coronavirus pandemic to do their jobs safely and have built lifesaving ventilation equipment used to treat critically ill patients. They have continued to tackle the climate crisis, developing solutions which minimise impact and reduce carbon emissions, paving the way for a brighter and more sustainable future.

The impact of engineering is as diverse as the people it benefits, which is why inclusivity is so important. The women represented in this year’s WE50 are a testament to the fact that the more diverse the minds and voices of engineers are, the greater their influence will be.

We are delighted to celebrate the trailblazing women whose work and advocacy are changing the shape of engineering in the UK.”

The WE50 awards seek to recognise the wealth of female talent within engineering and related disciplines; an annual celebration aligned with the campaign International Women in Engineering Day (INWED) which takes place on 23 June and is also co-ordinated by WES. INWED celebrates the achievements of women in engineering and related roles and highlights the opportunities available to engineers of the future; this year the campaign is partnering with UNESCO UK. INWED is only made possible through sponsorship and in 2021 the following organisations are providing their support: Amazon, Atmos International, Boeing, Ball, Cranfield University, ECITB, GCHQ, Institute of Refrigeration, Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team, NSIRC, OPITO, Royal Academy of Engineering, Royal Air Force, Spectris, V12 Footwear and World Refrigeration Day. The WE50 theme changes each year to recognise women working in different fields and from varying routes into engineering.

Despite the unusual set of circumstances the country finds itself in this year during the COVID-19 pandemic, WES will still be celebrating the WE50 winners. The 2021 winners are published by The Guardian on the morning of 23rd June 2021 and celebrated during WES’ own virtual INWED event on 23 June and across social media and press throughout the world.

Click here for the full list of winners

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