Celebrating the “International Day of Women and Girls in Science”

7 February 2020

On 11 February 2020 the global mathematics community marks the fourth annual “International Day of Women and Girls in Science”. A description of the day’s origins and aims, published by its organisers, follows below:

“This day was recognized by the United Nations in light of the global need ‘to achieve full and equal access to and participation in science for women and girls, and further achieve gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.’

Science and gender equality are both vital for the achievement of the internationally agreed development goals, including the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Over the past 15 years, the global community has made a lot of effort in inspiring and engaging women and girls in science. Yet women and girls continue to be excluded from participating fully in science. On International Day of Women and Girls in Science, let’s change this narrative.

Join us in celebrating women and girls who are leading innovation and call for actions to remove all barriers that hold them back.”

The Isaac Newton Institute fully supports the goals and ambitions of this vitally important project. The historic gender imbalance within the mathematical sciences is a long-standing issue which has only begun to show signs of changing within recent years. Yet it is essential that such change is effected, both for the good of the science and all those that wish to engage in it. Here at the Institute we aim to create an inclusive environment which welcomes all people, regardless of gender or any other characteristic. It is with this in mind that we have pursued multiple projects/strategies including the following:

  • Using philanthropy (e.g. a 2019 donation of £250,000 from Dr Ewan Kirk to establish the Kirk Distinguished Visiting Fellowship) to promote and support senior academics in the field nationally and internationally, celebrating them as role models for the next generation. INI’s current Kirk Distinguished Visiting Fellows are Cheryl Praeger and Claire Voisin.
  • Remove barriers to participation through logistical, financial and technological support including the sourcing and funding of nursery places for the children of our visiting academics (£43k in 2018-19): http://www.newton.ac.uk/information/childcare
  • Our Equality and Diversity Action Plan ensures systematic support of girls and women in mathematics as described above and through outreach and engagement activities.
  • We regularly discuss gender issues with visiting academics and researchers via INI’s ongoing podcast series, thus helping to raise awareness of the severity of the issue whilst also providing role models for early career researchers

We will soon be publishing an in-depth article describing how these initiatives tie together to give a cohesive view of our own attempts to help redress the mathematical gender imbalance.

We wish you all an inspiring “International Day of Women and Girls in Science”

Visit: https://gender-gap-in-science.org/

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