Technological Institute of the Philippines

Women as Engineers: Engineering is essential to health, happiness and safety

Engineering may seem like a man’s world, but women throughout history have created an enduring legacy in the field, many overcoming discrimination to give rise to some of the most significant innovations. Through sheer ingenuity and creativity, these women have made and continue to make outstanding engineering contributions to the health, happiness and safety of society today, with their extraordinary achievements already immortalized in various journals and publications.

Dubbed the Mother of Modern Management, Lillian Gilbreth was a distinguished industrial engineer and psychologist known for her influential contributions to human factors and ergonomics. This study of designing and applying equipment and devices that fit the human body, and its movements and cognitive abilities, have proven to be crucial in improving employee health and wellness, and optimizing productivity in the workplace.

In 1965, Gilbreth became the first woman to be elected to the National Academy of Engineering and, a year later, the first female engineer to receive the Hoover Medal, a prestigious citation awarded jointly by five engineering societies.

Gilbreth also demonstrated that women can indeed “have it all,” pursuing a fulfilling 80-year career while raising 12 children. The story of how she and her husband, whose life work were efficiency and work management, raised a large family was captured in the book “Cheaper by the Dozen” written by their children Frank Jr. and Ernestine.

The foremost female industrial and environmental chemist in the United States during the 19th century, Ellen Henrietta Swallow Richards, was a pioneer in sanitary engineering and home economics. In 1887, she conducted an enormous, pioneering survey of drinking water in Massachusetts, which led to the establishment of water-quality standards and modern sewage treatment plants.

From solving everyday problems, to coming up with the most elaborate technologies that can positively impact the world, these women proved that engineering can improve lives, and ensure the health, happiness and safety of future generations. This concept is propounded by “Changing the Conversation,” a book published by the United States’ National Academy of Engineering, which reveals that majority of teens and adults sampled in a survey believed that “engineering is essential to health, happiness and safety.”

“Dynamic, ambitious and hardworking, Filipino women today are not shying away from making waves in the field of engineering. They are confident in harnessing their creativity and skills to develop various solutions to everyday problems,” said Dr. Elizabeth Quirino-Lahoz, president of the Technological Institute of the Philippines (TIP). The school has taken on the unique and challenging job of advocating engineering in the country as an unsung area of learning and expertise that is indispensable to modern life.

Women in charge

Following in the footsteps of the great women in engineering history are female TIP students who have brought their teams to triumph in the annual Shell Eco-marathon, the largest fuel-economy competition in the world. This annual event challenges students from around the world to design, build, and test ultra-energy-efficient vehicles.

In this 2013 Shell Eco-Marathon event, Team Manager Jerelyn Notario, a 4th year Mechanical Engineering student led her TIP Mileage Team to 3rd place in the Urban Concept-Diesel Category, besting 12 other teams with a fuel consumption rating of 47.44 km/L. Another proud female member of the group was Mary Anne David, a 5th year Electronics and Communications Engineering student at TIP. “We are out to show the world that like the women before us, we too can make it big in the field of engineering” , said Jerelyn Notario.

Now celebrating its 52nd year, TIP offers affordable engineering and computing programs that are recognized by the Engineering Accreditation Commission and Computing Accreditation Commission of the United States-based ABET, formerly known as the “Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology”, the global gold standard in accreditation of college and university programs in applied science, computing, engineering, and engineering technology.

To date, TIP offers 18 ABET-accredited engineering and computing programs in its Manila and Quezon City campuses, the most for any educational institution in the country. These include Chemical Engineering, Computer Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Electronics Engineering, Industrial Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Sanitary Engineering, Computer Science, Information Systems, and Information Technology.

TIP advocates bringing engineering closer to the Filipino youth in hopes of building generations of engineers who can positively impact the world with their inventions and innovations. “Engineering is essential to health, happiness and safety” is a concept from the book Changing the Conversation published by the National Academy of Engineering in the United States.