First Female Engineer in India: Ayyalasomayajula Lalitha
Ayyalasomayajula Lalitha, affectionately known as A Lalitha, occupies a notable position in Indian history as the first female engineer in India. Her path, marked by unwavering determination, persistence and groundbreaking accomplishments, set a benchmark for numerous women aspiring to make strides in the field of engineering.
Early Life and Education
Birth date: 27th August 1919
Birth place: Madras, India
A Lalitha was married at the age of 15 and became a mother to her daughter, Syamala, in 1937. Tragically, Lalitha’s husband passed away just four months after their marriage, leaving her a young widow. Lalitha with the support of her father pursued engineering at the College of Engineering, Guindy (CEG), where she was the only woman.
Lalitha’s ground-breaking career as an engineer paved the way for women in the field.
Graduation and Apprenticeship:
She graduated in 1943 with a degree in electrical engineering and completed a one-year apprenticeship in Jamalpur Railway Workshop.
Lalitha worked at the Central Standards Organization in Shimla and collaborated with her father on research.
In 1948, she joined Associated Electrical Industries (AEI) in Calcutta, where she contributed to the design of the Bhakra Nangal Dam.
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Recognition and Contributions
Lalitha’s contributions were not limited to India; she received international recognition.
She became an associate member of the Institute of Electrical Engineers (IEE) in London in 1953, later achieving full membership in 1966.
Lalitha attended the First International Conference of Women Engineers and Scientists in New York in 1964 and was elected as a member of the British Women’s Engineering Society in 1965.
Lalitha passed away in 1979 due to brain aneurysm. Her legacy as India’s first female engineer endures, inspiring women in engineering to this day.