Math seems like an appropriate topic to spotlight on Tax Day, don’t you think? Many of us are all too familiar with the negative stereotypes society has engrained in us regarding the female’s mathematic ability, and the disadvantage that creates for women’s careers. We think it’s about time to shatter those bogus stereotypes and encourage gender equality within mathematical fields!
Luckily, we are not alone in this goal. The Association for Women in Mathematics (AWM) has been around since 1971 as an organization to promote women in mathematical fields (and to promote equality within those fields). Much more recently – as in October 2017 – a website called WomenDoMath launched as an offshoot of that association.
WomenDoMath was created as a hub for AWF members and student chapters – along with any girls and women interested in math – to house resources, events, and stories all in one place. The site includes information and resources for K-12 students, undergrad students, and grad students, and it includes relevant data and research related to women in math. (For example, did you know that only 11% of full math professors at PhD-granting institutions are female?)
“As WomenDoMath grows, we see it becoming more of a platform for the student chapters of undergrad women in math, and we hope they’ll use our site to help their chapters connect to host joint conferences and things like that,” said Sarah Yoseph, Primary Website Developer for WomenDoMath.
Sarah says she hopes the website will eventually grow to be the umbrella resource for not just women in math, but any underrepresented group in the mathematical sciences. She says she sees so many disparate resources spread across the web, and would love to see those brought together so they’re easier to access. Those resources include things like conferences and scholarships within the field.
“WomenDoMath is a place to communicate to women that they belong here,” Yoseph said. “We want as many women as possible to know that there are all these resources there for them.”
We all have a role to play in changing the conversation around women and mathematics. If you’re reading this and feel fired up about women in math fields, why not share some of that enthusiasm with the young girls in your life?
Below are a few ways you can help foster a love of math in your daughters (or nieces, granddaughters, BFF’s kids, etc.):
1. Make pattern and logic games part of their world. These don’t look math related, but they definitely help develop the mindset that makes for a good math learner!
2. Make sure you don’t talk about math in negative ways. It’s easy to throw around phrases like, “I was terrible at math, so ask your dad for help with your math homework.” Be aware of how you’re talking about the subject and keep things optimistic so she stays motivated and confident.
3. Play math games to keep it fun. There are some awesome apps these days, like Marble Math.
4. Surround her with other girls who love math. This doesn’t have to be anything high pressured, but if there are girls in her class who share an interest in math, try to help them spend time together (and maybe encourage they play math games together, too!).
5. Find her a math mentor. Connect her with an adult who uses math dailt in “the real world” in really cool ways. This helps to bring math off the page and into a tangible context she can start to get excited about.