About Society of Women Engineers

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Organization

The Society of Women Engineers (SWE) is a non-profit educational and service organization of graduate engineers and women and men with equivalent engineering experience. SWE’s membership includes over 15,000 members in 87 sections and 285 student sections.

SWE originated when small groups of women engineers and engineering students began meeting independently in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington DC. Nearly 50 women from these groups came together on May 27, 1950 in New Jersey at Green Engineering Camp of the Cooper Union and formed the Society of Women Engineers.

See the many benefits of SWE Membership >


Mission

The Society of Women Engineers stimulates women to achieve full potential in careers as engineers and leaders, expands the image of the engineering profession as a positive force in improving the quality of life, and demonstrates the value of diversity. (adopted 1986)


Programs

The Society of Women Engineers has created many programs to support our Mission and Objectives. Learn about SWE’s programs >


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Objectives

  • Inform young women, their parents, counselors, and the general public, of the qualifications and achievements of women engineers and the opportunities open to them.
  • Assist women in readying themselves for a return to active work after temporary retirement.
  • Serve as a center of information on women in engineering.
  • Encourage women engineers to attain high levels of education and professional achievement.

(adopted 1958)

SWE Structure

Board of Directors
Management and transactions of Society business are the responsibility of the Board of Directors. Voting members of the Board of Directors are the seven Officers (President, President-Elect, three Vice Presidents, Treasurer, and Secretary, elected by the Society’s voting members) and the ten Directors (one elected by and from the voting members of each Region). The Society’s Executive Director, who manages the Headquarters office and staff in New York, is a non-voting member of the Board of Directors.

Board of Trustees
Six Trustees are elected by and from the Society’s voting members and are charged with managing various trust funds of the Society.

Council of Section Representatives
The chief legislative and policy-determining body of the Society is the Council of Section Representatives (Council). Voting members of the Council include representatives from the Sections, the Members-at-Large, and the Student Regions. Members of the Board of Directors are non-voting members of the Council.

Committees
The Society has a number of standing and special committees to perform various functions in furtherance of SWE’s objectives. Committee chairs report administratively to a Society Officer.

Regions
The Society adopted a regional-based structure in the mid 1980s for the United States and Puerto Rico. There are 10 Regions, each with a Director on the Society’s Board of Directors. Regional structures vary, depending on the needs and desires of each Region. Regions generally hold one conference each year, focusing on continuing development topics. Within each Region there are Sections, Members-at-Large, and Student Sections. Areas outside the United States and Puerto Rico are not officially in a Region and do not elect a Director to the Society’s Board of
Directors. For administrative purposes, however, those areas are known as Region X. Region X members are represented on the Council through the Members-at-Large.

Sections
At present, the Society has 87 Sections (not chapters!) chartered by the Board of Directors. Sections are not permitted outside the United States and Puerto Rico. Sections vary tremendously in the number of members and geographic size, as well as activities and programs. Members in areas served by inactive Sections are assigned to the Members-at-Large until the Section is reinstated by the Board of Directors.

Student Sections
The Board of Directors has chartered Student Sections (not student chapters!) at about 300 colleges, universities, and engineering institutes. Student Sections are not permitted outside the United States and Puerto Rico. Student Sections vary tremendously in number of members, as well as activities and programs. Student Members at institutions without Student Sections are assigned to the Section covering that area. If there isn’t a Section in the area, they are Students-at-Large and are assigned to the Members-at-Large.

Members-at-Large
Any member not affiliated with a Section is a Member-at-Large.

Read the Phoenix Section Bylaws

Key Issues

SWE is committed to the following Key Issues.

Leadership

Provide opportunities for members to develop leadership and management skills to enable them to achieve their maximum potential and further their ability to attain increasingly important positions of responsibility.

Education

Provide programs to encourage girls and women to enter engineering, and encourage members to attain high levels of achievement in their fields.

Visibility

Increase visibility of SWE and its programs to members, the technical community, and the general public.

Diversity

Develop programs to encourage and sustain increased participation in the fields of science and engineering reflective of our diverse population.

Resources

Increase the Society’s resources for the purpose of supporting high quality programs and services to meet its goals.