Today marks the tenth annual celebration of International Women in Engineering Day (INWED). INWED, celebrated each year on June 23, brings much needed recognition to women in engineering, all of whom make up only 16.5% of the industry’s workforce.
INWED is a public awareness campaign that not only focuses on raising the profile of women in engineering but also helps to educate women about the field and the many potential career opportunities within the industry.
The Women’s Engineering Society (WES) is credited with founding INWED. The English charity and membership society dates back to 1919. The society, whose primary goal is to ensure equality for women in engineering, was founded following the end of World War I, when women were not allowed to remain in technical roles and were, instead, forced to return to the home.
Each year, many organizations and individuals across the globe observe INWED by celebrating the women engineers in their firm or personal circle, speaking to youth, or by making monetary contributions.
L.I. Smith & Associates (LIS) has made a similar commitment this year. Throughout 2023, LIS and its staff members have committed to assisting local schools throughout Henry County with their STEM programs. STEM education integrates science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in an applied learning approach. Students learn in hands-on, real-world applications. STEM education programs are crucial in exposing young people, specifically young women, to career paths that they may not otherwise be aware.
LIS President Patrick Smith stated, “There is simply not a proportional number of women and minorities in the STEM fields. Proportionally, half of the intellect in the world belongs to women. In civil engineering, that proportion drops to a mere 16%.”
LIS staff members will contribute to local schools through volunteering their time in the classroom, sharing their knowledge and expertise as mentors, and sponsorships that will allow schools to purchase essential equipment.
“How do you get students into a field that they know nothing about? You must show them,” remarked Smith.
In the United States, only 30% of the STEM workforce is comprised of women. By raising awareness through STEM programs, educators and professionals alike hope to increase the STEM workforce, while also reaching young women in the school systems and providing a means for them to learn more about STEM careers and opportunities.