Cranfield University’s Professor Helen Atkinson CBE, FREng, is one of just 20 people identified by WISE’s 1 of the Million campaign. Professor Atkinson was chosen by WISE as “an incredible role model working to change the gender balance in STEM”.

For 20 years, WISE has been encouraging and identifying women in STEM, at any level and in any role, sector or part of the UK, showing that STEM is for everyone. The number of women in engineering has seen a total increase of 350,000 women in core STEM disciplines in the last ten years.

In 2020, the milestone of one million women working in STEM was reached in the UK. To recognise this, WISE looked back over previous award winners and created the WISE20 – a list from the last 20 years who represent the many stories, backgrounds and careers of the award winners. 

Alongside Professor Atkinson, WISE has also recognised the work of the scientist and broadcaster Maggie Aderin-Pocock MBE, broadcaster and CEO of TeenTech Maggie Philbin OBE and the work of Network Rail whose Gender Equality Network now has over 1,000 members.

Professor Helen Atkinson, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, School of Aerospace, Transport and Manufacturing at Cranfield University, said: “I am honoured to be among this amazing group of WISE20 award winners of outstanding women, men and organisations who have all played a significant part in promoting women in STEM careers. Organisations like WISE play a vital part in inspiring the next generation of women to take up STEM careers. To have a million women now working in STEM roles in the UK is a significant achievement but, at the same time, it also highlights how much more there is to do.