Celebrating Girls in STEM


By: Annie Ma


Eight blocks from the Capitol where congresswomen pitched bills to committees, I stood in the Ronald Reagan Building pitching my all-girls science competition to international girl leaders at the Girl Up Leadership Summit in Washington, DC.

A year earlier, I’d entered the Chemistry Olympiad national finalist exam room to see row after row of boys, with just three girls scattered across the room. Still troubled by this image, I attended the Girl Up Summit to learn about global issues affecting women and girls, and the experience proved pivotal. A scientist spoke about her predominantly-male work environment. Nodding along, I realized gender inequality in STEM results in part from the lack of female presence. Too often, the voices presenting onstage or narrating scientific videos are male; girls don’t picture themselves as scientists.

Annie, 17, with fellow Summit attendees visiting the Capitol on Advocacy Day

Listening to panels of inspiring women and meeting the global community of passionate girl advocates drove me to take action, and the Girls International Three-Minute Science Competition was born. After many, many hours of work, I launched the competition in November with the help of a Girl Up STEM grant. Submissions are coming in at a good pace, and I’m excited to grow the competition in future years!


If you are a female-identifying teenager, I absolutely encourage you to submit for a chance to win cash prizes. All experience levels are welcome, as it’s a simple contest to celebrate girls in science. Just submit a three-minute video speech on any scientific topic of your choice, and you’ll get feedback from an amazing panel of female judges: professors from places like UC Berkeley, Brown, Stanford, and the University of Cambridge.

Apply here: www.girlsthreeminutescience.org