Women in Mathematics (06w5504)

Arriving Saturday, September 23 and departing Thursday September 28, 2006

Organizers

Gerda de Vries (University of Alberta)
Malgorzata Dubiel (Simon Fraser University)
Clara Garza-Hume (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) )
Barbara Lee Keyfitz (Ohio State University)
Chawne Kimber (Lafayette College)
Rachel Kuske (University of British Columbia)
Marni Mishna (Simon Fraser University)

Objectives

There are many valuable contributions that talented women have made, and are making to the mathematical community, mathematics research and mathematics education in Canada, the United States and Mexico. The talks and discussions at the very successful Second Connecting Women in Mathematics in Canada (CWiMAC) workshop, which took place at the Banff International Research Station July 21 – 23, 2005, demonstrated that there are still many issues of concern related to the careers of women in mathematics, both in Canada and in North America in general: for example retention of talented women beyond the PhD stage, and improving the academic climate for women who wish to balance family and career. The workshop proposed here will address such issues, and how the three Canadian institutes (PIMS, Fields and CRM), and other professional organizations can support women throughout their professional life, beginning with their experience as undergraduates.

The 5-day workshop we are proposing will bring together women mathematicians from Canada, the US, and Mexico, and men who have an interest in supporting women’s issues and who are in a position to influence the policies and strategies of the institutes and professional organizations. The women will represent all levels of the usual career path: graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, women in mid-career and senior women. The participants will have the opportunity to interact through panels, break-out groups and informal discussions and engage in scientific exchanges. These activities provide opportunities to network and to identify specific issues relevant to supporting diversity at different stages of mathematical careers. They will develop recommendations for future collaboration and for activities in support of women in mathematics. They will examine what the institutes and professional organizations are doing now to support women, and what other initiatives can be undertaken.

The workshop will study how to develop cooperation and exchanges between the different organizations in North America (Canada, US and Mexico), which support women in mathematics; successful initiatives in other countries; planning for ongoing support activities; and the impact of school education and early affirmative action on career choices and professional success.

The workshop would draft a strategic document containing recommendations for future action and follow-up activities. It would also develop guidelines for the design of BIRS programs (example: the Research in Teams program is particularly valuable for women, allowing them to meet with collaborators), and other programs at cooperating institutes (PIMS, Fields, CRM, MSRI, etc.), which would be of special assistance to women.

It is important to find ways of enhancing the academic environment so that the talents of our brightest researchers and educators are realized. As a society we continue to benefit from the mathematical expertise that is developed whenever someone completes a Ph.D. in mathematics. By addressing issues related to encouraging women to enter, and the retention of women in, mathematics, this conference will help to establish a valuable cadre and to keep women mathematicians contributing at their fullest.