Weekly Now: The History of Women in Engineering, Through an Association’s Eyes

The Society of Women Engineers honors pioneering women in the field with a Women’s History Month timeline. Also: Tradeshows are experimenting with in-person events again.

Did you know that Mary Kies was the first woman to receive a patent in the United States, in 1809? Or that the completion of construction of the Brooklyn Bridge was overseen by a woman, Emily Roebling, who didn’t get credit for it until a century later?

March is Women’s History Month, and the Society of Women Engineers is making sure that the public knows the important historic role of women in STEM fields.

In honor of Women’s History Month, the association built a timeline highlighting some of SWE’s own history, along with that of pioneering women in engineering. Formed in 1950 after a regional event at the Drexel Institute of Technology, SWE has grown to more than 40,000 members, both professional engineers and students.

The timeline showcases “some noteworthy milestones in STEM industries and some of the outstanding SWE members who have made valuable contributions to the world of engineering and tech.”

Other recent headlines:

ESA donates $1 million to Black Girls CODE. The Entertainment Software Association, the primary trade group for the video game industry, announced this week that its philanthropic arm, the ESA Foundation, would launch a multiyear initiative with Black Girls CODE. The organization aims to teach technology and coding skills to 1 million young women by 2040. “Talent is everywhere, but opportunity is not,” ESA president and CEO Stanley Pierre-Louis said in a news release. “Our industry is committed to expanding opportunities in our sector by working to grow talent and spark interest and excitement for STEAM careers, especially for those from underrepresented groups.”

IAB to develop standards for AI in marketing. The Interactive Advertising Bureau will set standards for the use of artificial intelligence in marketing through its AI Standards Working Group, which is cochaired by IBM Watson Advertising and Nielsen, IAB announced. As a first step, the Working Group released a guide containing use cases and best practices. In a statement, Angelina Eng, IAB’s vice president of measurement and attribution, said AI has the potential to make a significant impact in the marketing field. “But AI should not be blindly trusted. The IAB AI Standards Working Group is helping define the groundwork and best practices the industry needs to ensure privacy, measurement, and addressability,” she says. “Ultimately, this will lead to creating agreed-upon standards.”

Reopening the Expo Halls

Is the moment of re-emergence for tradeshows imminent? A recent story from The Wall Street Journal suggests it is, noting that Mobile World Congress, the first big event to be canceled last year, will come back in hybrid form in June.

And it’s not alone. Leading the way to a tradeshow comeback was a trio of apparel-industry events that took place earlier this year as “pilots”: Womenswear was held in Nevada, and two Las Vegas events moved to Florida, Magic Pop-Up and Offprice.

“This was not an event where we made any profit at all,” says Douglas Emslie, the group chief executive of Tarsus Group PLC, which put on Offprice. “This was an investment for the industry to prove that we can run these events.”


Looking to head back to the office? Make sure you focus on the details, writes Rasheeda Childress.

Lessons from Netflix. Synergos AMC CEO Lane Velayo, CAE, sees learning opportunities for membership pros from Netflix and other streaming services, which are facing subscriber churn issues.

Rolling out a new schedule. Virtual events are increasingly moving away from the shorter in-person model in favor of events that span a longer period, Samantha Whitehorne writes.

Construction of the Brooklyn Bridge was overseen by a female engineer. (opus1ny/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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