A Session at ICIAM 2023: Gender Equality in Mathematics

Among the robust technical sessions at the ICIAM 2023 meeting, a two-part session on gender equality was held.  The session, entitled “Gender Equality in Mathematics: A Global Perspective,” featured speakers from across the globe presenting material on the state of gender equality in Mathematics in their countries, continents, and organizations that are addressing challenges related to supporting women in Mathematics.  

The first part of the session started with Prof. Maria J. Esteban (CNRS and University Paris-Dauphine) introducing the Gender Gap in Science Project (GGSP), a recent effort to gather data on the global gender gap across many scientific disciplines.  The project included a global survey about the state of women in science-related workplaces.  A team in France has recently been analyzing the resulting data specific to Mathematics and Applied Mathematics compared to those of women in other disciplines, and some of those results were presented. This recent study shows that the gender gap is equally bad in Mathematics and Applied Mathematics as in other sciences, with few differences.  In some aspects the situation is better or worse in Mathematics than in other sciences. For instance, there seems to be fewer cases of sexual harassment concerning mathematicians than other women scientists. An article containing these results will be published soon, as well as a website showing all the tables and figures allowing readers to see the differences between Mathematics  and other scientific fields. The references will be given in a future issue of Dianoia. 

Maria J. Esteban was followed by Prof. Sophie Dabo (University of Lille and INRIA) who presented results from the GGSP survey specific to women in Africa.  Next, Prof. Motoko Kotani (Tohoku University) presented her perspectives on the state of women in science in Japan, and Prof. Yukari Ito (The University of Tokyo) presented about the new Asia-Oceania Women in Mathematics organization that has been formed to help promote and support women in Mathematics in the broader Asia-Oceania region.  

The second part of the session started with Prof. Carola-Bibiane Schönlieb (University of Cambridge) joining the meeting from Europe where she presented her perspectives on the state of women in science in Europe and how some of the women in Mathematics associations in Europe are helping to support and promote women.  Prof. Talitha Washington (Clark Atlanta University) joined from the United States and gave a presentation about the Association for Women in Mathematics detailing what that organization is doing to help support women in Mathematics in the United States and elsewhere.  Lastly, Dr. Carol Woodward (Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory) gave a presentation on the relatively new Standing Committee for Gender Equality in Science (SCGES), created to help promote and support women in science across more than 20 international scientific unions, noting that ICIAM was a founding member of the committee. 

Finally, the seven speakers were joined by Prof. Neela Nataraj (IIT Bombay) and Prof. GuiYing Yan (Chinese Academy of Sciences) in a panel discussion where they and other speakers answered several questions from the audience. 

Picture: Panel members answer questions in the ICIAM 2023 gender equality minisymposium.  Pictured left to right are Prof. GuiYing Yan, Prof. Motoko Kotani, Prof. Yukari Ito, Prof. Neela Nataraj, Prof. Maria J. Esteban, and Prof. Sophie Dabo.  


Carol S. Woodward and Maria J. Esteban

Carol S. Woodward is a mathematician at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Maria J. Esteban is an emerita senior researcher at CNRS, and a former president of ICIAM.