23 June is International Women in Engineering Day, and we’re celebrating the successes of female engineers pushing boundaries in the UK.


Women may make up half of the UK workforce, but they are sorely underrepresented in the engineering sector. Just 12 per cent of engineers in the UK are female, despite the fact that female engineering graduates here are more likely to enter full-time work than both male engineering graduates, and women from other disciplines.

Enter the Women’s Engineering Society (WES), which has been supporting female engineers since 1919 when – post-WWI – unprecedented numbers of women began working in factories and gaining practical engineering training. Today, the WES celebrates International Women in Engineering Day by releasing its list of the top 50 Women in Engineering 2020, this year with a sustainability theme. The organisation is also holding an online celebration, until 4pm today.

The full list of winners can be found on the WES website. Meanwhile, we present to you a selection of some of the women at the forefront of the industry.


#1. The energy buff: Yasmin Ali – Energy Innovation Project Manager, UK Government, Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

Award-winning chartered engineer Yasmin Ali is passionate about the future of sustainable energy. With a specialism in how to integrate solar power, wind power and energy from waste into existing systems, she’s just the kind of innovator that we need right now.


#2. The educator: Dr Ellie Cosgrave – Lecturer in Urban Innovation and Policy, UCL

By specialising in how rapid urbanisation, technological innovation and social justice intersect, Dr Cosgrave is dedicated to looking after our collective wellbeing as our cities and tech advance. Fun fact: she’s a dancer, too.


#3. The ground-breaker: Dr Barnali Ghosh – Technical Director, Mott MacDonald

An earthquake engineer and geotechnical specialist, Dr Ghosh helps clients to mitigate seismic hazards in their projects. Her work as part of the field investigation team following the 2015 Nepal earthquake was invaluable, and she won the 2017 Shamsher Prakash Award for Excellence in Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering.


#4. The advocate: Professor Valeska Ting – Professor of Smart Nanomaterials, University of Bristol

The mechanical engineering specialist doesn’t just win awards for her research into nanoporous materials to address challenges in sustainable tech. She’s a STEM communicator, a BAME Expert Voice for the BBC Academy and a public lecturer, too.


#5. The eco expert: Laura Hepburn – Director, Greenology

Also featuring on the Northern Power Women Future List 2020, Hepburn funded her company – which turns plastic waste into energy – through working as a film director on Game of Thrones and Danny Boyle’s Yesterday. She even turned down the opportunity to work on the latest James Bond film because Greenology was still a fledgling business. Daniel Craig’s loss is our gain.

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