Dame Caroline Haslett was an electrical engineer who worked tirelessly to improve women’s lives. Born in Sussex in 1895, Haslett began her illustrious career by working as a clerk for a boiler company. During the upheaval of WW1, she gained engineering experience in workshops.
When she was just 24 years old, Haslett was appointed the first secretary of the Women's Engineering Society and first editor of The Woman Engineer magazine. And in 1924, at the age of 29, Haslett founded the Electrical Association for Women, having herself become specialised in electrical engineering.
These were the first steps towards a lifetime of public service, during which Haslett strove to improve women’s representation in the field of engineering. On top of countless other activities, Haslett worked to represent women for the Ministry of Labour and the International Labour Office, becoming the first female companion member of the Institution of Electrical Engineers (IEE).
Haslett went on to become president of the International Federation of Business and Professional Women, and a member of the Royal Institution. She also served as the first female chair of a government working party, occasionally representing the UK government on business missions abroad.
In 1947, Haslett achieved another first by becoming the inaugural female member of the British Electricity Authority – thus prompting the organisation to name a ship after her. But Haslett wasn’t done yet; from 1950, she worked as a Justice of the Peace for the County of London.
In 1931, Haslett was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in recognition of her services to women. And in 1947, she was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire for her work on the Board of Trade and the Ministry of Labour.
Her dying wish, at the age of 61, was that she be cremated by electricity. During the course of her life, Haslett achieved enormous gains for women in engineering, breaking down countless barriers and working tirelessly for a better world.
Last updated: 21 February 2018