When you look back through history, women have continuously through hard work and determination been able to achieve what many perceived to be impossible in the engineering industry.
When you take a look around at many engineering companies, even till this day most of the engineers are male figures. Women have been challenged to earn their place in this industry from the very beginning. In 1905, one of the pioneers that paved the way for many women of today’s generation is Nora Stanton Blatch.
Nora graduated from Cornell University as the first woman to receive a Civil Engineering Degree. Additionally, she then also became the first female member of the American Society of Civil Engineers. Regardless of the fact that she met all the requirements, Batch was not allowed to advance because of her gender and was only accepted under the junior status. In 1916 when she was denied the full associate membership she took it upon herself to once more make a difference and took ASCE to court. Although she lost the lawsuit, Blatch was given ASCE fellow status in 2015.
Nora was continuously challenged when it came to remaining a part of the industry.
She had to overcome professional and personal challenges. In 1908 Nora married inventor Lee De Forest, often considered as “Father of Radio” and the “Grandfather of Television” Their marriage did not last very long she was pregnant with their daughter at the time of their separation in 1912. Forest asked her to focus on being a mother and resign from her career and Blatch was not going to set aside her professional aspirations to become a housewife.
Nora moved back to New York City in 1909, where she continued to pursue her professional career and worked as an engineering assistant and chief draftsman for the Radley Steel Construction Company. She then took on a role in 1914, as part-time architect and developer on Long Island.
Nora Stanton Blatch opened many paths for women everywhere not just in engineering but overall. What we once perceived as a setback is only an opportunity to learn and grow from.
Her perseverance and can-do attitude has led many other female figures to pursue their desired careers.