Some years ago, she started a campaign: to get more women working in science, technology, engineering and maths — what are known as the “Stem” professions. She asked for volunteers from these sectors to help and called it The Stemettes Project. She wanted it both to be fun and to make a difference and used used free food as a hook.
When she started, only a small fraction working in these sectors were women. At university she’d studied maths and computer science — where she was one of only three women in a class of 70.
She knew, however, that through history women engineers and scientists had done incredible things, developed new technologies and changed the world. Getting a balanced industry is good for our economy and society, but it is also exciting for those involved. It really can change their lives.
Stem industries are all about creativity and altruism, which is what makes them so fulfilling, and she tries to emphasise that in her movement.
With the support of major companies such as Telefónica and Deutsche Bank, she has now worked with more than 17,500 girls and young women across London, the UK and Europe.
She has even sent Stemettes to California. She gets them to meet people who are in industry, she holds hackathons, panel sessions and mentoring sessions.
Five years after she began, many of the girls who came to her early sessions are now working in Stem professions.
Today about one in five people working in Stem industries are female — and Ann wants to get it up to at least a third.
She has started book projects, TV projects and she is helping young people to run their own Stem clubs.
Her organization has got tens of thousands of young people to hear the simple, strong message that girls can do Stem too. The result? Almost all of them say they are more interested in science and technology.