Engineering Heroes – The 2021 Top 50 Women in Engineering #WE50


Image removed.Founded by the Women's Engineering Society in 2016, the WE50 awards are a UK event linked to International Women in Engineering Day (INWED)– the celebration of women in engineering that takes place on 23 June each year.

In association with The Guardian newspaper and Assystem, the 2021 Top 50 Women in Engineering will celebrate the Engineering Heroes:
the best, brightest and bravest women in engineering, who recognise a problem, then dare to be part of the solution;
who undertake everyday ‘heroics’ as much as emergency ones.

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Derived from the Greek word hērōs, "hero" literally means "protector" or "defender" and in 2020-21 engineers around the world have played a major role in protecting and defending us from the Covid-19 pandemic. At the same time, the extraordinary public health crisis we are experiencing has brought into sharp focus how engineers also deliver and maintain critical services and infrastructure, keep civic society functioning at every level, and support lives and livelihoods. And let's not forget those engineers who also undertake world-leading research and innovation to tackle the long-term, structural global challenges of our time, especially climate change.

Nominations for the 2021 Top 50 Women in Engineering have now closed and the winners will be announced on International Women in Engineering Day 23 June 2021.

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2021 criteria for nomination 

We are celebrating women who have improved engineering in service of our society. These individuals may be involved in designing, delivering, developing, maintaining or researching engineering in the following circumstances:

  • Emergency response to immediate need, for example, the pandemic, natural/manufactured disasters, search and rescue
  • Improvements to the social or environmental impact of infrastructure designed to keep the public safe, for example, building and road safety, energy, telecoms and water services
  • Life-saving medical response, whether by means of diagnostics, devices, medication or equipment, for example, pharmaceutical drugs, tests and vaccines, hospital diagnostic equipment such as x-rays and scanners, surgical tools, protective equipment, including clothing and masks
  • Responding to the climate and biodiversity emergencies


Essential Criteria – all nominees must satisfy these:

  • A woman
  • Based in the UK - nominees do not have to be UK citizens
  • Not a previous WE50 winner

 Desirable Criteria:

  • Acting as an advocate for women in work and STEM
  • Studying or working in engineering industries and allied sectors, engineering education, or engineering research
  • Achieving beyond what would normally be expected for career stage - nominations welcome at all career stages 


Nominations have now closed and the winners will be announced on International Women in Engineering Day 23 June 2021.

Judging Panel

  • Head Judge, Professor Catherine Noakes
  • Simon Barber, UK Managing Director, Assytem, WE50 Sponsor
  • Dawn Childs FREng, UK Change Director, National Grid,
  • Emma Crichton, Head of Engineering, Engineers without Borders,
  • Scott Dalrymple, Vice-President HR, Crane,
  • Elizabeth Donnelly, Chief Executive Officer, Women’s Engineering Society,
  • Neil Gibbs, ABB,
  • Frankie Laugier-Davies, Senior Account Manager, Pareto Facilities Management Ltd,
  • Mark McBride Wright, Equal Engineers,
  • Sarah Mogford, Environment and Planning Divisional Director, RSK,
  • Emma Nicholson, Development Project Manager, SLC Rail, and WES Trustee
  • Elizabeth Oni-Iyiola, Development Director, Inclusive Boards,
  • Steff Smith, Chief Executive Officer, Institute of Measurement and Control, and
  • Mara Tafadzwa Makoni, Association of Black Engineers (AFBE)

Hints & tips on writing a great awards application

The Women's Engineering Society has an insightful guide compiled by our previous award judges on what makes a great winning entry. 
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Important WE50 dates

1 February 2021 – #WE50 Nominations opened 
​17 March 2021 – 12 noon #WE50 nominations closed
5 May 2021 #WE50 winners notified
23 June 2021 #WE50 winners announced!

Previous WE50 Award Themes

​2020 Sustainability
2019 Current and Former Apprentices
2018 – Returners and Transferrers
2017 – Under 35
2016 – The inaugural Top 50 Women in Engineering