It was almost 20 years ago that I was beginning to make a decision that would affect the rest of my life – what to study at college. And even though that choice (as I later found out) is not a definitive mark of where you’ll end up on your journey, it certainly sets a clear starting point that influences which journey you will take.
In the end I made a choice that unfortunately not enough women make – I went down the science route and studied Applied Physics, along with only two other young women in a class of 20. Nearly 20 years on, working in technology and that ratio is still pretty much the same, sometimes worse.
What helped inspire me to go into an area that I knew I’d be in the minority was inspiration from one of my heroes – Marie Curie. When studying physics in secondary school I was impressed by her many achievements – primarily winning the Nobel prize, twice – in two separate sciences! Not an easy feat for anyone, let alone for a woman at that time. She inspired me to go on to study science, primarily because it made me sad at how few women there are in STEM – even 100 years on from Curie’s achievements. I wanted to be part of a change.
On International Women’s Day I think it’s important to call out and recognise inspirational women, female role-models that encourage girls to grow up strong and empowered. By recognising women heroes, it might help even one girl believe that she has a place in science, technology, business, sport, politics, the boardroom, or indeed anywhere she dreams!