Building a more sustainable world will need more women engineers

When engineering is critical to achieving our global sustainable development goals by 2030, and when our ultimate goal is equality, engineering itself must become as diverse as possible – something to bear in mind as UNESCO celebrates its first world engineering day on 4 March. Attracting and supporting more women in engineering benefits everyone by increasing the potential to develop inclusive, innovative solutions for the complex problems the world is facing. For example, it was a woman engineer – Stephanie Kwolek – who discovered the bulletproof fibre Kevlar, which now protects soldiers worldwide, and it was Josephine Cochrane who invented the dishwasher. Many of these women have been overlooked for patents and prizes in favour of their supervisors, yet their contributions have transformed the world and lives within it. Climate change, access to clean water and sanitation, clean energy and more liveable cities are all present-day challenges that need engineers.

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