When I joined the College of Engineering, Guindy, India, in 1966, I was one of a handful of women in a class of hundreds of men. I was singularly focused on getting an engineering education, and it never occurred to me that I didn’t belong there. I did not pause to question what it was like for women who entered the engineering field long before me and paved the way for me. Today, my alma mater boasts an almost 50/50 split of men and women.
I learned all about the women who came before me when researching and writing my book Roots and Wings. Their inspirational life stories demonstrate academic excellence, courage, perseverance, and resilience.
They broke many biases against women to do what they set out to do in their lives.
Let us celebrate these trailblazers today on # InternationalWomen’sDay.
Narayani graduated from College of Engineering, Guindy (CEG), Chennai, India, in 1962 with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering. She received a Ph.D. in structural engineering from Imperial College, London, in 1971. She has the honor of being the first woman from CEG to receive a doctorate.
I had the opportunity to talk about Roots and Wings with Hari, my fellow alum from College of Engineering, Guindy. I am thrilled to have four of the women from Roots and Wings provide their takes on what it meant to them to study engineering. Thank you, Nalini, Radha, Kalpa, and Indira! You can click on specific links (in the video description) to hear them talk.
Seetha Lakshmi graduated in 1972 from the College of Engineering, Guindy (CEG), with a degree in electronics and communication engineering. She went on to get a Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Texas, Austin (the second woman Ph.D. from CEG!).
In the 1940s, Lalitha didn’t know she was making history. But she did – as the first woman engineer of India, and the first woman to graduate from the oldest Indian technical institution, my Alma mater, College of Engineering, Guindy (CEG), University of Madras.