About the awards
History and background
These prestigious awards honour the very best early career female engineers working in the UK today.
Young Woman Engineer of the Year (YWE) award
Launched in 1978, it was originally known as the Girl Technician of the Year, but was changed to the Young Woman Engineer of the Year in 1988.
The YWE award was originally sponsored by the Caroline Haslett Memorial Trust, which provided scholarships and other educational opportunities for women seeking or already pursuing careers in electronic, electrical or mechanical engineering.
Dame Caroline Haslett (1895-1957) was the first Secretary of the Women’s Engineering Society (WES) out of which grew the Electrical Association for Women (EAW) and Dame Caroline was appointed its Director and Secretary. Through the Association she encouraged the use of power in the home believing that electricity was the real emancipator of women.
The Trust was formed in 1945 to commemorate the 21st anniversary of EAW and after Dame Caroline’s death it became a memorial to her. The Trust funds are now exhausted, but the IET continues to support the Young Woman of the Year Award.
The Mary George Memorial Prize for Apprentices
The late Mary George CBE joined EAW (Electrical Association for Women) in 1956 having previously been a Civil Servant with the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries.
She was appointed the Director and Secretary of EAW and after her death in 1983, a collection was organised by the Association to form a memorial fund to her. In 1985 the fund was used to inaugurate the Mary George Memorial Prize.
The prize is given to a young female apprentice who shows great promise and potential in the profession and is tipped to be one of tomorrow’s leaders in engineering.
Women’s Engineering Society (WES) Prize
The Women's Engineering Society is a professional, not-for-profit network of women engineers, scientists and technologists offering inspiration, support and professional development.
Working in partnership, WES campaigns to encourage women to participate and achieve as engineers, scientists and as leaders.
The Women’s Engineering Society Prize is awarded to a young female engineer who is able to engage and inspire young people’s involvement in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
She is also interested in the challenges women face in maintaining their career in engineering.
Gender Diversity Ambassador Award
Following the 40 year anniversary of the IET Young Woman Engineer of the Year Awards, the Gender Diversity Ambassador Award has been created to honour and recognise an individual that has dedicated a large proportion of their career to achieving gender equality within the engineering industry.
This award aims to celebrate a role model, but also showcase innovation and good practices when it comes to implementing tactics and policies to address the gender gap through attracting and retaining women in engineering.
The IET archives is a unique collection of material promoting and preserving the history of science, engineering and technology.
This includes biographies, featured articles, online exhibitions, research guides, information about the IET's history.
History: Women in engineering
For more information specifically related to the history of women in engineering visit the online exhibition Women and engineering, emancipation from drudgery.
Also held in the IET archives are letters from Ada Lovelace to Michael Faraday.
To further explore the fascinating documents, records and collections in the IET Archives please visit the online exhibitions page.