A very important date for the calendar – International Women in Engineering Day, is approaching on June 23rd, 2017. It is an opportunity to celebrate and highlight the incredible careers of women within engineering, with the aim of encouraging more gender diversity in the community.
The sub-theme of this day for 2017 is #MenAsAllies, so we saw this as an exciting opportunity to invite Jon Hall, Editor of Expert Systems, to share his thoughts below.
It’s an honor and a pleasure to be given a platform this International Women in Engineering Day to make the first male contribution to Wiley’s women in engineering conversation. Being white, male and (ahem) middle aged means being the first is a new experience for me. I like new experiences.
And, as I look at Wiley’s Women in Engineering webpages, I see a spectrum of great women engineers. The best thing? None of them look anything like me.
That’s worth celebrating.
One of my heroes is Margaret Heafield Hamilton who, as Director of the Software Engineering Division of the MIT Instrumentation Laboratory, coined the term ‘software engineering.’ Margaret’s software sent Apollo 11 to – and humans to walk on – the moon. When radar errors struck, her robust software intervened to save the Apollo 11 mission, and the lives of the three Apollo 11 astronauts – Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins.
Software engineering came of age under Margaret Hamilton and her software revolution is still felt today. She has changed the world in ways that were unimaginable before her.
The next generation of engineers are being born into Margaret Hamilton’s world. Because of Margaret – and every other inspirational engineer of any age, ethnicity or gender – amongst them will surely be another 1,000 – another 10,000 – Margaret Hamiltons.
Each engineer starts by dreaming of changing the world. Nurturing those dreams is our first responsibility as engineers.