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First Female Engineer in India

First Female Engineer in India: Ayyalasomayajula Lalitha

Ayyalasomayajula Lalitha, often referred to as A Lalitha, holds a significant place in Indian history as the India’s first female engineer. Her remarkable journey, filled with determination, perseverance and ground-breaking achievements, paved the way for countless women aspiring to excel 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.

Engineering Career

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.

Early Career:

Lalitha worked at the Central Standards Organization in Shimla and collaborated with her father on research.

Joining AEI:

In 1948, she joined Associated Electrical Industries (AEI) in Calcutta, where she contributed to the design of the Bhakra Nangal Dam.

Recognition and Contributions

Lalitha’s contributions were not limited to India; she received international recognition.

IEE Membership:

She became an associate member of the Institute of Electrical Engineers (IEE) in London in 1953, later achieving full membership in 1966.

Global Conferences:

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.

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