To mark the International Day of Women and Girls in Science 2020 we asked Siân, year 13, to write about being a woman studying science in 2020. Here she shares her thoughts and about her future in the world of physics.

Today marks the 5th​ annual International Day of Women and Girls in Science, a day of celebrating the invaluable contributions that so many women have made and encouraging girls to participate in STEM. As a society, we have come a long way but by no means is the job done. As of right now, less than 30% of researchers around the world are women and only around 30% of all female students choose STEM-related fields in higher education. I wish that I could say that these statistics surprised me but as a girl in science myself, I am very aware of the disparity between men and women in STEM.

One of my first experiences with Generating Genius was at the BAI communications Challenge Day, just over a year ago. When I walked into the building that day, I had no idea what to expect or that it was just the beginning of a journey in which my boundaries were going to be tested and stretched, broken down and reformed.

As I entered the room on that fateful day in late January, my stomach was in knots. I have always struggled with anxiety, so to be in an unfamiliar place full of (mostly) unfamiliar people was a nightmare for me. That day was a challenge in every sense of the word. Although I found it difficult at first, it did not take long for me to realize that everyone around me was in a similar position, surrounded by strangers in a different setting than we were used to. Knowing this helped me to open myself up a bit more and I left that event with a spring in my step, feeling proud of myself for something that, now, seems minuscule.

I joined Generating Genius to meet like-minded individuals from a similar background to myself but what I found was so much more than that. It opened my eyes to a world I did not even know existed. This programme has taught me how to be brave and has allowed me to tap into reserves of confidence that I had not previously been aware of. Through networking events, workshops and work experience Generating Genius has given me focus and a clear goal to work towards. Having met alumni and heard their success stories inspires me to be the best version of myself and with GG’s help, I know that this is within my reach.

I have always been a curious person with a longing to understand how things work, from the smallest of particles to the largest of celestial bodies, and why we are here. It has always been of great interest from both a philosophical and scientific viewpoint. A few years ago, I discovered that the answers I was looking for lay in the realm of Physics and science in general, and the rest is history. The more I study Physics, the more mysterious the universe seems to be which, for me, is one of the appeals. Physics is a never-ending stream of questions and I feel I have a duty, to myself and to all the other curious minds out there, to try and find some answers.

I used to think about the future a lot. What am I going to do? Where am I going to be? Who am I going to be? Growing up, I always had definite answers for those questions: an architect, then an author, then a surgeon, now a physicist. Now that I am older, I know that my future lies in science but as for where exactly I will end up. I have no idea. The possibilities are endless!

In January, we previously held a Challenge Day with Generating Genius to inspire the next generation to pursue STEM. Read more about Generating Genius.