The month of May saw a series of events across Australia to celebrate the first-ever Women in Mathematics Day, and ACEMS was proud to play a part in many of these gatherings.
In 2018, the World Meeting for Women in Mathematics, (WM)2, voted to make 12th May the official date for the celebration. The date is the birthday of the late Maryam Mirzakhani, the first woman ever to win mathematics highest honour, the Fields Medal.
In 2019, ACEMS was proud to sponsor or take part in 13 events at universities across the country. The activities ranged from panel discussions and public talks to networking events and public exhibitions.
The biggest event was a day-long conference in Adelaide that brought together The University of Adelaide, the University of South Australia, and Flinders University.
University of Adelaide masters student Kimberly Becker and ACEMS Associate Investigator Rachael Quill were the lead organisers of the conference.
“We had so many people come, and a diverse range of people, that brought a whole lot of energy to the event and the talks. It really felt like a huge celebration of women and the different paths that women take,” says Rachael.
The event featured a keynote address from one of Australia’s best-known mathematicians, Professor Nalini Joshi from The University of Sydney.
“It was amazing to hear about her journey through mathematics, how she developed her career, and how things have changed over the years," says Rachael.
Associate Professor Amie Albrecht from the University of South Australia says the event attracted people from both inside and outside academia, all at varying stages of their career.
“But we deliberately targeted undergraduate and postgraduate students and early career researchers,” says Amie.
The conference also featured two parallel panel sessions aimed at students and at ECRs. Attendees got to hear advice and stories from other women who had recently gone through those phases in their careers.
“We also had a networking session, where participants were run through some of the tips and tricks for networking with each other, and they had an opportunity to put that into practice,” says Amie.
The conference also featured a poster display sponsored by ACEMS. The posters featured around 40 women in maths from around Australia, in academia, industry and government, and at various stages of their career.Spotlight on Women in Maths in Australia
ACEMS Associate Investigator Melissa Humphries created the posters.
“There are so many amazing things that women are doing in mathematics that it was not hard to find incredible women,” says Melissa.
Melissa says one of the biggest challenges was convincing some women that they were ‘poster-worthy’.
“There are so many women out there who are doing these amazing things that just don’t realise how amazing they are. All of us have something to give, and all of us have a story to tell, and they’re all equally valid and important,” says Melissa.
It was a jam-packed day with something for everyone. But the main component of the day wasn’t a formal part of the program.
“Some of the feedback we received was that participants just loved being in a group of other women mathematicians, to look around and see so many women who are good at and are interested in mathematics,” says Amie.
Rachael says the day was an excellent springboard to keep the conversation going when it comes to diversity and inclusion in mathematics, and not just with women.
“We saw quite a lot of momentum coming out of the event in discussions beyond the day. There were academics and university leaders in attendance with whom we could continue the discussion about aspects of diversity and inclusion. Those practical things that we could change in the workplace to make life a bit easier for the people who don't fit the mould for whom the environment was created,” says Rachael.
Some of the other big Women in Maths Day events held at ACEMS nodes included:
|Date (2019)||Location\Host||Speaker(s)||Event type||Title|
|2 -15 May||Macquarie University||Dr Karen Lamb (UoM)||Free public lecture + Exhibition Opening||Women in Mathematics: A Gallery of Portraits.|
|9 May||Monash University||Prof Kerrie Mengerson (QUT/ACEMS)
Prof Di Cook (Monash/ACEMS)
Prof Jessica Purcell (Monash)
Julie Cook (Monash)
|Lecture and Q&A||The Mathematics of Change: viewing the world's oldest discipline through a female lens.|
|13 May||University of Adelaide (host),
University of South Australia
|Prof. Nalini Joshi AO (USyd)
Prof Eva Bezak (UniSA)
- Keynote lectures
- Networking session
- Student & ECR Career panels
- Women in Maths poster exhibit
|South Australia Women In Maths Day: Career Conference|
|13 May||University of Sydney||Panellists from USyd:
- Dr Becky Armstrong
- Dr Lamiae Azizi
- Dr Emma Carberry
- Dr Zsuzsanna Dancso
- Pantea Pooladvand
- Assoc Prof Milena Radnovic
- Dr Sarah Romanes
- Assoc Prof Sharon Stephen
- Dr Rachel Wang
- Prof Jacqui Ramagge (LECTURE)
|Panel & Talk||Women In Maths Panel Discussion and Q&A, followed by lecture:
‘My life in Maths’ talk by Prof Jacqui Ramagge
|13 May||The University of Melbourne||Prof Kate Smith-Miles (UoM/ACEMS)
Prof Antoinette Tordesillas (UoM)
Prof Malwina Luczak (UoM)
|Panel discussion & Portrait Exhibition||International Women in Mathematics Day|
|13-May||The University of Queensland||Dr Romina Arroyo (UQ)
Dr Sara Herke (UQ)
Dr Sabrina Streipert (UQ)
|Colloquium & Lunch||Colloquium – Celebrating Women in Maths|
|13 May||Queensland University of Technology||Prof Kerrie Mengersen (QUT/ACEMS)
Dr Robyn Araujo (QUT)
Dr Kate Helmstedt (QUT/ACEMS)
Virginia Wheway (Thiess)
Sarah Hepworth (ATO)
|Panel discussion||Women in Maths QUT|
|14 May||Swinburne||Fatima Ansari (Swinburne)
Dr Pinkee Dey (Swinburne)
|Public talks||Two Public lectures:
“Less is more in the chemotherapy of breast cancer” and
“Thermomagnetic convection in ferromagnetic nano fluids”
|14 May||University of Wollongong||Prof Marijka Basterham (UoW)
Dr Valentina-Mira Wheeler (UoW)
|Presentations and Networking Lunch||Women in Maths @ UOW|
|14 May||Curtin University||Prof Jo Ward (Curtin)||Public talk||An evening celebrating women in mathematics|
|15 May||RMIT||Prof Irene Hudson (RMIT)
Prof Asha Rao (RMIT)
Prof Belinda Tynan (RMIT)
|Panel Discussion||Women in Maths RMIT|
|16 May||UNSW||(no featured speakers)||Lunch and Film Screening||Women in Maths Day UNSW|
|16 May||University of Technology Sydney||STEM professionals
- Mary Coupland (UTS/ACEMS)
- Dounya Fattouh (NSW Dept of Education)
- Veronica Price (Macquarie Group)
- Prof Jacqui Ramagge (USyd)
- Dr Nahid Banihashemi (UTS)
- Dr Alba Santin Garcia (UTS)
- Dr Joanna Wang (NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics)
|Panel discussion||Women in Maths Day UTS|
Guest: Dr Amie Albright, Senior Lecturer at UniSA
Guest: Dr Melissa Humphries, Lecturer at University of Adelaide & ACEMS Associate Investigator
Guest: Dr Rachael Quill, Lecturer at University of Adelaide & ACEMS Associate Investigator
Host: Tim Macuga, ACEMS Media and Communications Officer
For just over a week in May 2019, people from around Australia came together for a very special celebration to honour and celebrate women in the mathematical sciences.
In this episode, we talk to three of the women behind that big event, what they did, why it was so important, did anything come of it, and what’s ahead when it comes to the issue of gender equity.Listen