Saturday, March 7, 2015

Canada's First Practicing Woman Engineer

Elsie Gregory MacGill was Canada's first woman to practice engineering.  What does that mean?  Essentially it means that she studied earned her necessary degrees in engineering (in her case electrical and then aeronautical) and then opted to work in her field as an engineer.  However, as engineering is a profession, she had to comply with the expectations of that profession.  In addition to finding a job and performing it to the best of her ability, she needed to be licensed within the area in which she was working.  

As a result, Elsie had to seek approval from the provincial licensing bodies such as the Professional Engineers of Ontario (PEO) in order to work.  These bodies are regulatory in nature and ensure that all their members are upholding their codes of excellence and ethics.  

For Elsie however, being an engineer was about more than finding work and ensuring she complied with the expectations of the regulatory bodies, she sought to fully engage with the profession.  As a result, she sought membership in various engineering organizations and societies, and once she gained access to these organizations she fully committed herself as a member.  

The Engineering Institute of Canada or EIC featured prominently in Elsie's life.  She was the first woman to be accorded membership in 1938 and she dedicated a larger amount of her time to this organization and served in many leadership roles within it.  

For more information about PEO see: 
For more information on the EIC see: 

Stay tuned for more of Elsie's professional journey!

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