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Friday, March 29, 2019

Why Talk About Women In Math? | Science - Forbes

How can we fix the leaky pipeline that results in the field of mathematics being dominated by men? insist Rachel Crowell, writes about mathematics.
Are women flowing out of the mathematics pipeline like the flowing colors in this image? Or are they being pushed out by things outside of themselves?
Photo: Getty
How are women in math treated in their workplace environments? What barriers exist that make it difficult for mathematicians who are also parents -- especially mothers -- to advance their careers in academia or industry while also raising families? As we wrap up the last few days of the 2019 Women's History Month, some folks might wonder: Why are there still so many conversations focused on women in mathematics?

The conversations are happening because there is still much work to be done to make mathematics a field that wholeheartedly welcomes women and awards them for their contributions. According to a report from from the National Science Foundation, less than 30% of all U.S. doctoral degrees in mathematics and statistics are awarded to women. From 2006 to 2016, the percentage of mathematics and statistics doctorates obtained by women actually fell from 29.6% to 28.5%. (2016 is the most recent year for which those statistics are available.).

A common approach to try to increase the number of women in math is to focus on creating or enhancing programs that get girls excited about math. But should the focus here lie solely on the girls, who are the potential women mathematicians of tomorrow?...

Did you know that 2019 was the first year in which the Abel Prize was awarded to a woman? Earlier this month, Karen Uhlenbeck was named as the winner of the 2019 Abel Prize, a top prize in mathematics.

There's even an initiative to make May 12 a day for celebrating women in mathematics. Maryam Mirzakhani, who was the first (and, to date, the only) women mathematician to win the prestigious Fields Medal, was born on May 12, 1977.

Yet there is still so much work to be done.

Equality for women in mathematics isn't a topic or priority to confine to Women's History Month. 

Source: Forbes