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Society for Women Engineers: Advocating for Women in Engineering and Technology

by Roveen Anyango
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When it comes to longevity and impact in getting women into STEM, few organizations can rival Society for Women Engineers (SWE).

Founded in 1950 and first headed by Eng. Beatrice Hicks, SWE has a long 70-year history which has made it the largest advocate and catalyst for women to get into engineering and technology. Beatrice Hicks must have been one very strong and brave woman, leading an organization that encouraged women to get into fields which at that time, were considered not for women.

SWE is a non-profit organization whose mission is to ‘Empower women to achieve full potential in careers as engineers and leaders, expand the image of the engineering and technology professions as a positive force in improving the quality of life, and demonstrate the value of diversity and inclusion.’

How SWE achieves its goals

How SWE achieves its goals to getting more women into technology and engineering is through offering scholarships to undergraduate and graduate women in STEM degree programs.

Since the organization is not for profit, the money they earn comes from private donations and corporate sponsors. Therefore, this is why SWE works with the likes of Boeing, Apple, Dell Technologies, Accenture among other corporates to raise funds to sponsor women in STEM.

SWE often holds one annual conference in different locations each year, so there is a high likelihood of it coming to your local neighborhood at the time. The conferences will often include professional development workshops, inspirational talks from keynote speakers, career fairs and of course, networking. They also provide mentorship for women in STEM, and not just mentorship for getting in, but also, mentorship through all stages of the woman’s career.

So, if you are a woman in STEM, either as an undergraduate or postgraduate, then SWE is a good place to consider for some guidance and even scholarships. Visit the SWE website to learn more about how to join them and what to expect from them.

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