2023 was an exciting year for the Society of Women Engineers (SWE). From record-breaking membership and event participation to new trainings and grant awards, the organization continues to champion women in engineering and technology across the globe.
Here are some of SWE’s most memorable highlights and achievements of 2023:
SWE concluded its FY23 membership campaign with more than 43,000 members; for FY24, SWE is already on track to break the record year set in FY23.
This year, SWE disbursed 330 new and renewed scholarships valued at more than $1.5 million. Scholarships for the 2024-2025 academic year are now open, and there are multiple opportunities to apply here.
Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEI&B)
SWE released its second DEI&B report, Fostering Belonging: Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, & Belonging Organizational Initiatives at SWE.
SWE’s senior manager, DEI&B, conducted seven focus groups during 2023 with the following key membership groups:
- Neurodivergent Members & Members With Disabilities
- Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) Members
- Global Members at WE Local Barcelona
- African American & Black Members
- Middle Eastern Members
- Early Career Members
- Late Career & Retired Members
In 2024, focus groups are planned with these groups:
- LGBTQ+ Members
- Global Regions: Asia Pacific
- Indigenous Members
- Mid-Career Members
- Affinity Group Members
SWE created a webpage where you can find a comprehensive selection of SWE resources to help you enhance DEI&B in your workplace or community.
SWE’s Global Programs celebrated many advancements including the launch of 20 new Global Affiliates, totaling 117 localized networks spanning 34 countries. SWE launched the SWE Brasil website, hosted the second SWE India Virtual Career Fair, and held successful WE Local Conferences in Bengaluru, India, and Barcelona, Spain.
In 2023, SWE was proud to welcome the largest cohort of 213 global ambassadors representing 29 countries, as well as conduct six virtual networking opportunities around the world.
As of December 2023, SWE has 21 Affinity Groups (AGs) with over 10,000 members who have opted-in to their email lists.
SWE HQ features the work of AGs regularly throughout the year to all members and provides in-person space at our annual conference for these communities to network and grow.
Content and Programs
Academic Leadership for Women in Engineering (ALWE)
In 2023, SWE received the prestigious Brandon Hall Group Excellence Gold Award in Learning and Development for its Academic Leadership for Women in Engineering (ALWE) program.
ALWE provides female academics in engineering with tangible skills and knowledge needed to pursue, acquire and gainfully maintain institutional leadership positions at a university.
Over the last two years, the ALWE program has undergone major changes to support the improvement of program outcomes and effectiveness, including a revision to the overall program design and incorporation of a leadership coaching program in partnership with Academic Leadership Group.
Advance Learning Center
The calendar year of 2023 saw the first full year of programming and content available on SWE’s Advance Learning Center, which launched in mid-2022. During 2023, there were over 14,000 unique users who accessed over 45,000 pieces of content.
Our most popular learning courses include:
- SWE Youth Protection: Code of Conduct & Standards for Interacting With Youth
- The Art of Authentic Networking
- Preventing Harassment and Discrimination
- How to Become the CEO of Your Career
- Mindshift: Powerful Mental Tools to Help You Learn, Change, and Grow
Ethics & Anti-Discrimination Training for SWE Leaders
SWE volunteer leaders set an example for not only the SWE member community, but also SWE’s partners, sponsors, and external stakeholders. To that end, volunteer leaders at all levels should strive to exemplify the SWE Core Values and adhere to the Member Code of Conduct.
In 2023, SWE implemented new training requirements for SWE volunteer leaders. The Board of Directors, Board of Trustees, Senate, and Committee Chairs are now required to take the training modules listed below. Leaders will only be required to complete training once each term. FY24 Section, Affiliate, and committee members are encouraged to take these modules and required SWE Advance Learning Center modules (based on their state of residence).
Required Module: Preventing Harassment and Discrimination
- Preventing Harassment & Discrimination – 35 minutes
- Managing Bias – 20 minutes
- Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging – 30-40 minutes
Neurodistinct people have long been marginalized in employment. Employers with a commitment to their communities and to social responsibility should welcome the opportunity to create more equitable workplaces and hiring. There is also a clear business case for neuroinclusion as a solution to the three major talent challenges facing 21st-century organizations:
- How to find great talent
- How to keep talent around
- How to get the most out of your teams
For these reasons, in 2023 SWE started offering a new neuroinclusion e-learning suite that includes the following four modules:
- Neurodiversity 101 – Neurodiversity appreciation training for all employees
- Neuroinclusive Manager – Neuroinclusive leadership training for managers
- Neuroinclusive HR – Role-specific training for HR professionals
- Neuroinclusive Recruiter – Role-specific training for recruiters
Women of Color in Engineering Collaborative
SWE was awarded a $5 million grant from the National Science Foundation to support the Women of Color in Engineering Collaborative (WCEC). The project will focus on strategies to increase the retention of women of color in the engineering profession. The collaborative currently includes 29 STEM professional societies and industry partners.
The grant will allow the WCEC to grow and recruit new organizations that employ women engineers of color, including from higher education and government. SWE leads the WCEC in collaboration with the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES), the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE), and the Women in Engineering ProActive Network (WEPAN).
Report: A Pathway to Holistic Development and Professional Growth for Women of Color in STEM
SWE recently published a detailed report on its Collegiate Leadership Institute (CLI) illustrating how CLI is changing the game for women in STEM, with a special focus on empowering women of color to lead and innovate. The report highlights the crucial role its Collegiate Leadership Institute plays in shaping future leaders in engineering and technology.
The report, drawn from surveys and focus groups, not only underscores key aspects of the CLI program, but also demonstrates SWE’s ongoing commitment to these principles. It presents a comprehensive analysis, addressing crucial research questions, which unveils CLI’s substantial influence on the educational and professional paths of women in STEM, particularly those from underrepresented backgrounds.
SWENext provides a pathway for students through the age of 18 to become part of the SWE engineering and technology community. SWENext is free to join and provides students access to programs, mentors, and resources designed to develop leadership skills and self-confidence to #BeThatEngineer. As of December 2023, there are over 8,100 SWENexters in 46 countries and 280 SWENext Clubs.
SWE hosted 18 sessions of the SWENext High School Leadership Academy (SHLA), guiding future engineers through their STEM pathway development. SWE also added five new courses to the STEM Pathways digital library for pre-college students exploring STEM careers this year.
In 2023, SWE Magazine received three Grand Awards and five Awards of Excellence from the annual Awards for Publishing Excellence (APEX). The organization’s Grand Award is its highest honor.
In addition, SWE Magazine also received two Eddie top awards and three Eddie honorable mentions from Folio:. Folio: awards are considered the most prestigious in the publishing industry.
From SWE Magazine to Diverse: a SWE podcast to the All Together blog, the SWE community enjoyed a mix of stories this year that highlighted STEM leaders and posed important industry questions. SWE compiled this roundup of its most popular blog posts, podcast episodes and magazine articles of 2023 for our community to explore.
SWE held five sold-out WE Local conferences throughout the U.S., India and Europe in 2023.
Additionally, a record-breaking 21,600+ individuals attended WE23, SWE’s annual conference held in Los Angeles this year. Attendees came from 41 countries, and over 3,500 of this year’s attendees joined the conference virtually.
In post-WE23 surveys, more than 85% of attendees noted that they expanded their professional networks and more than 90% of respondents said that WE23 prioritizes belonging and fosters a welcoming and inclusive environment.
After such an impactful year, SWE is looking forward to continuing our efforts to advance women in engineering and technology in 2024!