Results for boys and girls taking GCSE Mathematics are similar, but the number of girls studying post-16 maths drops from then onwards. In many universities, women taking PhDs in maths are noticeable only by their absence despite no statistical difference in prior achievement. This is reflected when you consider that less than 10% of mathematics professors in the UK are women.
In the North-West, we are aiming to put on several events to encourage female students; I will highlight a couple of these below.
We are very lucky that the University of Manchester has been chosen to host one of the SUMS (Steps to University for Mathematical Students) Enrichment Days. These are aimed at enthusiastic Year 12 female maths students considering studying maths or a closely related subject at university. Students will work on an extended problem in small groups, quiz current students about university life, and hear from young women who use maths in their jobs. You can find out more information here.
In the Summer of 2023, the AMSP and the University of Manchester will put on an event open to all students in years 10 and 12 to celebrate Women in Maths. This event will showcase successful female role models and all speakers and volunteers will be female mathematicians.
In the past, Woman in Maths has run workshops on Fractals, Random Walks, Spread of Disease, logic, Fluid Dynamics and many more. When asked what the most useful aspect of the day was, one student said, “hearing about women who have achieved something in worse conditions than we have nowadays has inspired me to handle being in a male-dominated job”, while another commented on the “empowering atmosphere!”, and “meeting all these amazing mathematicians”.
More information about these events and additional resources for encouraging girls’ participation in mathematics can be found here.