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Petticoats and Slide Rules at The Women's Museum

Petticoats and Slide Rules: SWE, A History of Women Engineers
The Women’s Museum: An Institute for the Future
Through November 3, 2011

Petticoats and Slide Rules do go hand in hand, as the dynamic history of women engineers illustrates. The Women’s Museum announces the opening of their newest exhibit, Petticoats and Slide Rules. The exhibit is an “interactive” history featuring materials from the SWE historical collection at the Reuther Library.

This idea was first presented in 1952 to the Western Society of Engineers, during the celebration of the “Centennial of Engineering” in Chicago, Illinois. There, woman engineer, Margaret Ingels, presented her speech Petticoats and Slide Rules. As a member of the newly founded engineering group, the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), she enlightened her audience with stories of women “trailblazers” and “pioneers,” in order to pay tribute and spread the word that, indeed, there WERE women engineers predating the “blue jeans” era.

The special historical exhibit Petticoats and Slide Rules: SWE, A History of Women Engineers pays tribute to trailblazers and pioneers, from before the “blue jeans” era to the present. Made possible by FLUOR Corporation, the Petticoats and Slide Rules exhibit will remain at The Women’s Museum through November 3, 2011. Audiences are invited to view the exhibit during the State Fair of Texas. The Women’s Museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and museum admission is FREE during the State Fair.

“Fluor is proud to be the presenting sponsor of The Women’s Museum and its exhibit Petticoats and Slide Rules,” said Torrence Robinson, Sr. Director, Community Affairs and Fluor Foundation. “At Fluor we work, focus and invest for the improvement of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education. We recognize that to compete globally, we need to assist in equipping and encouraging the entire workforce by embracing diversity, especially women, within the STEM disciplines. By recognizing and valuing past accomplishments of women in engineering, we hope to promote the next generation’s participation in building our future.”

Exhibit Honors Pioneers in Engineering

From Emily Roebling’s work on the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge in the 1880s, to former U.S. astronaut Dr. Sally K. Ride’s pioneering flight into space in 1983, women have participated in American science, technology and industry for over one hundred years. Yet, historically, the number of women in the engineering profession has been significantly low. Since its founding in 1950, SWE has grown in size and stature, challenged stereotypes, and contributed to the engineering profession in many ways.

For over 50 years, SWE has stood behind a diverse engineering workforce, and the idea that women CAN be engineers. That mission continues today, with a membership of more than 15,000 individual professionals and students from 22 countries, more than 300 student sections, and nearly 100 professional sections organized in 10 geographic regions.

About The Women’s Museum

The Women’s Museum: An Institute for the Future, in association with the Smithsonian Institution, is the nation’s only comprehensive women’s history museum that chronicles the lives of American women through interactive exhibits. The Women’s Museum is supported, in part, by the City of Dallas, Office of Cultural Affairs. Museum hours are Tuesday through Sunday, noon to 5:00 p.m. (closed Mondays).

During the State Fair of Texas, The Women’s Museum will be open daily from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.. The museum will be free with paid admission to the fair.

For more information, please visit

About Fluor Corporation

Fluor Corporation (NYSE: FLR) designs, builds and maintains many of the world’s most challenging and complex projects.  Through its global network of offices on six continents, the company provides comprehensive capabilities and world-class expertise in the fields of engineering, procurement, construction, commissioning, operations, maintenance and project management.  Headquartered in Irving, Texas, Fluor is a FORTUNE 200 company and had revenue of $20.8 billion in 2010.  For more information, visit .

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