Convincing young girls interested in mathematics and computer science that they are capable of pursuing scientific studies, fighting against social stereotypes are the objectives of the “Girls, maths and computer science: a luminous equation” days. These events are organized by the Women & Mathematics and Animath associations, with the help of the Blaise Pascal Foundation and are supported by the Ministry of National Education.
Globally, studies show that working women are paid less, hold fewer leadership positions and participate less in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.
In engineering and digital schools, women represent on average 20% of the workforce and occupy only 29% of data science and AI positions, according to a 2019 UNESCO report. year, 80% of AI professors were men while 12% of AI researchers were women.
At the national level, for the 2017-2018 school year, there were 47% of girls in science final against 79.3% of girls in literary final, according to the Ministry of National Education. In higher education, in 2018-2019, there were 27.7% of female students in engineering courses and 28.9% of female students in basic sciences and applications at university.
Fight against social stereotypes
The Women and Mathematics association was born in 1987 from the observation that there were only a few young girls in technical and scientific fields, few women in scientific professions, in particular in mathematics. It has set itself the challenge of remedying this state of affairs, bringing together around two hundred members, mainly mathematics teachers of different levels but also students, sociologists, philosophers and historians interested in the question of women. in scientific circles.
It has set itself the following objectives:
- Encourage the presence of girls in mathematical studies and more generally scientific and technical studies.
- Act for parity in mathematics professions and for the recruitment of more women in mathematics in universities.
- Promote the participation of women in mathematical circles.
- Sensitize the scientific and educational community to the issue of gender equality.
- To be a meeting place between mathematicians.
The partners of the “Girls, Maths and IT: a luminous equation” days.
To organize these days, launched in 2009, Women & Mathematics joined forces with Animath, an association created in 1998 whose aim is to promote the taste and practice of mathematics among young people and the Blaise Pascal Foundation. The latter, created in 2016 under the aegis of the Foundation for the University of Lyon, aims to support scientific mediation in mathematics and computer science, particularly for young people, girls and socially and geographically disadvantaged people.
The theater company “LAPS / morning team” has also been a partner of these days since their creation and offers a workshop on stereotypes based on a play-forum, first “Derived” and, since 2021, ” Coded”.
Initially called “Girls & Maths: a luminous equation”, they integrated IT in 2020.
One day program
During these face-to-face days, high school and 3rd year college girls are welcomed to a higher education and research establishment for a day. Those interested are registered by their teacher to come as a group (maximum 20 per establishment) or register to come individually.
Students dialogue with professionals from research, teaching and industry who use mathematics and computer science on a daily basis in their profession. They thus learn about the possible professional paths and careers in science and technology, and more particularly in these two disciplines. These meetings also lead them to reflect on the impact of stereotypes in their career choices and on the lack of diversity in the IT and mathematics professions.
The activities are as follows:
• A math or computer science conference;
• Workshops on stereotypes and careers in mathematics and computer science;
• A “speed-meeting”: meetings in small groups with technicians, teachers, researchers, engineers….;
• A play-forum, by the LAPS company morning team, entitled coded. It addresses the social gender stereotypes that women in scientific fields may experience, and is followed by debates and exchanges between students and actors.
The dates of the next days
- Monday November 28 in Lyon;
- Tuesday November 29 in Saint-Etienne;
- Thursday December 8 in Pau;
- Thursday December 8 in Limoges;
- Tuesday, December 13 in Tours;
- Thursday, December 15 at the Institut Henri Poincaré, Paris;
- Thursday January 26, 2023 again at the Institut Henri Poincaré, Paris.