About SWE

UIC SWE Section  |  Region H  |  National Organization |  Officers


The Society of Women Engineers (SWE) was established in 1950 with a group of about sixty women engineers and engineering students. SWE was founded as a way for women to support one another and encourage more women to become engineers.

Beatrice Alice Hicks was one of the co-founders and the first president of SWE. Growing up, her classmates and society as a whole did not believe engineering was a field fit for a woman, but she did not let that stop her from becoming an engineer. Betty Lou Bailey is another inspiring women in engineering. She graduated with an engineering degree from the University of Illinois where she was the only woman in a class of 700 students. She was also a SWE officer for the Philadelphia section and went on to have a successful career at General Electric.

In the over 60 years that have passed since the formation of SWE, views have gradually changed about the acceptance of women in engineering and more and more women continue to become engineers. Today, SWE at the national level provides scholarships for women who are studying engineering, holds annual conferences at the regional and national levels among other events which can be found at the national SWE website.

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