Harriet Rees loved maths growing up. She took every maths course going at the girls school she attended in Wales. It was only when she first went to university – at Oxford – that she realised just how large the gender divide was in the subject.
“I recall walking into my university lecture theatre and being aware on day one that I was one of very few girls,” she says. “I just remember immediately feeling ‘oh, this is unusual’ because I’d gone to an all-girls school, so up until this point I had been quite sheltered from this whole topic.”
After university, Harriet joined an actuarial graduate scheme at a large insurance company and ended up staying in the sector for about eight years. To be an actuary involved lots of mathematical study, which was exactly what she’d hoped for.
“It opened my eyes to the world of qualitative finance and the pricing models and methodologies,” she says. “I worked in London and I worked in Paris – I really enjoyed that world.”
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