Women in Engineering

There are many spectacular women in the field of engineering, but with females making up less than 10% of the engineering workforce at the start of 2018, it’s clear to see that changes have to be made to close the gender gap within the industry.

Here, we take a look at some of the top female engineers within the industry, who have had truly incredible careers.

Jocelyn Goldfein

Jocelyn Goldfein has held many senior engineering roles throughout her professional career, including Director of Engineering at Facebook and Vice President at VMware. She holds a BS in Computer Science from the prestigious Stanford University, and since graduating in 1997 has completely transformed engineering in the technology industry.


Jocelyn Goldfein worked at VMware for an extended period of time, beginning her employment in 2003. She was initially given the responsibility of building core virtualisation technology and contributed to the company’s remarkable growth in revenue.

While working for VMware, Goldfein was given more and more engineering responsibilities, which included the development of desktop and developer products. Her hard work led to her becoming Vice President of the company, and in this role, she helped the company reach even higher levels of success.


Goldfein worked as the Director of Engineering at social media giant Facebook for over four years, helping to further develop certain aspects of the networking site, as well as helping it move forward to the next generation of technology.

While at Facebook, Goldfein led the company’s push on mobile infrastructure, using her engineering skills as well as her computer science knowledge to develop apps and revolutionise the site in a way that made it easier for people to use on the go.

Goldfein also launched major new product initiatives during her time at Facebook, all of which continue to be used by millions of people all over the world every day. These product initiatives include News Feed, Search and Photos. Goldfein managed these projects alongside her strategic engineering operational initiatives, which included major changes to Facebook’s technical recruiting strategies.

Inspiring Women/Today

Goldfein is now Managing Director at Zetta Venture Partners, a company who lead funding rounds for start-ups applying AI to solve business problems. Alongside this role, she is also an active public speaker, with a particular focus on inspiring young women to enter the field of engineering.

In 2017, Goldfein was named in Business Insider’s list of 43 Most Powerful Female Engineers – she came in at position number 9.

Lisa Perez Jackson

Lisa Perez Jackson is a chemical engineer, and in 2008 she became the first African American to be the head of the U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a role she held until 2013. She is now the Environmental Director at Apple Inc.

Early Life

Jackson was born on 8th February 1962 in Philadelphia and adopted at two weeks’ old by Benjamin Perez, a postal worker, and his wife Marie, who was a secretary.

Jackson grew up in a middle-class suburb of New Orleans, and although her immediate world didn’t surround her with the poverty and environmental issues that gripped other parts of the city, she was still well aware of the adversity that these people faced. This awareness is recognised as one of the factors that contributed to Jackson’s passion for the environment in later life.

She attended St. Mary’s Dominican High School, an all-girls’ Catholic institution, she proceeded to attend Tulane University, where she studied chemical engineering.

Jackson graduated in 1983 and went on to do a master’s degree at Princeton University. Following her graduation, she focused on working for non-profit environmental organisations until moving into more advanced positions for the US government.

Professional Career

Lisa Perez Jackson joined the EPA in 1987 as a staff-level engineer, working on remediation programs, waste clean-up regulations and overseeing hazardous waste clean-up projects throughout central New Jersey. She later served as the deputy director and acting director of the EPA’s regional enforcement division.

Jackson worked for the EPA for 16 years, then moving on to join the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) as assistant commissioner of compliance and enforcement in 2002. In this role, she headed up many campaigns to improve the local environment and was highly praised by many environmentalists.

After an incredible career, Jackson was nominated by President Obama to become the Administrator of the EPA. In this role, she pledged to focus on air and water quality and limiting greenhouse gases, using her understanding of chemical engineering and her past experience to introduce many new ideas and plans to the position. Jackson stepped down from the role on 15th February 2013 and took up a role with Apple to oversee environmental issues for the company. In 2015 she was promoted to vice president of environment at Apple.

Marissa Mayer

Marissa Mayer is an American engineer, business leader and computer programmer, and former CEO of Yahoo!. In 2014 she was ranked as the 16th most powerful woman in the world by Fortune Magazine and was in America’s 40 Under 40 in the same publication.

Early Life

Mayer was born in Wisconsin on 30th May 1975 as the daughter of an engineer and an art teacher. She enjoyed a small-town childhood, where she was involved in many different activities.

Mayer had always aspired to be a doctor; however, while at Stanford University she discovered her passion for computer science. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science, specialising in symbolic systems, and an MSc in Computer Science, specialising in artificial intelligence.

She then went on to undertake research internships at SRI International and at the UBS research laboratory in Zurich. Her hard work and success led to her receiving 14 job offers as soon as she had finished her postgraduate degree.

Professional Career

Mayer went on to work at Google, with her job offer coming directly from founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin. Mayer led Google’s user interface and web server teams and contributed largely to the company’s success as their 20th employee and first female engineer.

During her time at Google, she worked on some of the company’s most used web tools, including Google Maps, Street View and Gmail. She was also responsible for approving all of the Google ‘doodles’.

After more than a decade working for Google, she was appointed CEO of Yahoo! in July 2012, and helped turn the company around by changing course and slowly battling falling stock prices. In 2017 Mayer announced her resignation from Yahoo! to start a new project with an old colleague, Enrique Munoz Torres. The pair started up Lumi Labs, a business focusing on artificial intelligence and consumer media.

As spring manufacturers, we always have our finger on the pulse of the engineering industry. So be sure to check in each month to keep up to date with the latest engineering news.


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