Women In Math: An All-men Panel Discussion at BYU Math Club

The gender gap in math and science isn’t going away. Women remain less likely to enroll in math-heavy fields of study and pursue math-heavy careers

It’s great to have conversations about the need for gender diversity. Increasingly, we can see various discussions happening around women and their work. The forgotten topics of women and STEM, women and social work, and women and their achievements are vivaciously addressed. Earlier this week, Brigham Young University’s students-led maths club hosted a talk on ‘Women in Math.’ Wonderful right? As Ironical as it may seem, the panel included just men!

Yes, that’s right! A panel discussion on women in math which was an all-men panel.

The Huffington Post reported that BYU student Stephanie Driggs posted an image of the flyer to Twitter on Tuesday. It invites “all women who love math” to “come learn about research done in data science, topology, number theory, and dynamical systems from four BYU math professors.” The Tweet, since deleted, also included the question: is this satire?

The tweeted went viral and received thousands of likes and retweets. The Flyer came under scrutiny and received sarcastic as well scornful comments.

Siddharth Dorairaj, third-year B.com student from Delhi university spoke to SheThePeople.tv about the incident. He said, “It’s unfortunate to have such a contradiction but it precisely depicts the reality of the world. Now, we are all talking about women’s empowerment but we do nothing about it. The men who believe empowerment needs to happen is itself problematic. We don’t have to empower women, rather men should empower themselves. Empower themselves to uphold qualities of equality, justice and freedom because we were the creators of inequality. This flyer shows how we just talk but not walk the talk. Who better than women to talk about their own struggle, improvement, current work and accolades. This needs to change.”


Thus, the BYU Math department’s Facebook page clarified the flyer by saying that it was done in ‘good intention’.

The clarifying statement read: “Many of you have probably seen a poster circulating around the Internet from our Women in Math Organization! The poster featured the pictures of four of our department faculty. It was done with good intentions. It was not meant to demean women or be satirical. We value women in mathematics and their contributions, and work to promote opportunities for women to succeed in mathematics.”

The clarification given by the department does not answer the questions raised by people. The main problem with the flyer still remains unanswered. A subtle and general clarification makes no difference. Imagine having a panel on ‘Men in Math’ and having only women discussing the topic. It’s time we all do convert our words into action.

This flyer is absolutely silly and ridiculous while at the same time presents a bigger reality. What do you all think?  Let us know!

Also Read : Indian-origin Schoolgirl in UK’s Mathletics Hall of Fame

Reshma Ganeshbabu is an intern with SheThePeople.TV