Physics student helps inspire girls in Pakistan with opportunities in STEM

January 06, 2023

Hamza Hanif, a PhD Student in the Department of Physics, was among organizers of the 2nd Physics Camp for Girls in Karachi on 20 Dec 2022.

Hamza and his colleagues organized the event in the effort to address the significant gender gap that exists in Physics globally and, particularly, in Pakistan. Many factors contribute to the low number of female physicists: limited access to education, poverty, social and cultural factors, the lack of female role models and mentors. The scarcity of female researchers means a huge fraction of the country's potential for scientific progress is wasted. To meet UN's Sustainable Development Goals, Pakistan needs to empower its female population.

The camp, co-sponsored by the SFU Department of Physics, attracted over 300 bright and talented high school girls from 19 different colleges across the region. The camp included talks by distinguished speakers and researchers in science education from Pakistan such as Yumna Majeed, Roshaan Bukhari and Dr. Pervaiz Hoodbouy. There was also an engaging session of Electronic circuits and mental maths by the Magnifiscience Centre (  The event also highlighted the significant contributions made by female physicists, such as Marie Curie, Vera Rubin, and Chien-Shiung Wu. The organizers hope that this will help motivate girls to pursue STEM fields, specifically in physics, for their bachelor's degrees.

"My mom always told me she wanted to get a higher education", says Hamza, "but she couldn't. This motivates me to work for empowerment of the girls. Hopefully, with events like this, we will be able to encourage the girls to pursue higher education.”  “I have learned from the camp that a lot of girls are enthusiastic about Physics but are not inclined to consider doing bachelors in Physics as they don't know what they will be doing after their education.”, Hamza reflects.  For future events, Hamza hopes to be able to include lightning talks from female PhD candidates so they can share their experience and their current research.

Attendees from the Government Girls Secondary and Higher Secondary Sultanabad expressed their appreciation: "Our experience of attending this seminar was wonderful. It was well organized”, wrote one of the participants in her testimonial. "The lectures delivered by different professors not only developed our interest but also made this subject quite informative. It enhanced our curiosity to know more about this field. For the first [time] we came to know that its scope is vast and if we opt, it opens a wide range of opportunities in future. The lecture on the topics like astronomy, galaxy, and medical physics changed our perception of this subject. It helps us to understand the world around us.“