Friday, November 23, 2012

Women Scientists in America

Gray,  is bold,
and female.  One of the founders
(one-nine-seven-one) of the Association for
Women in Mathematics and an attorney, a leader of our struggle to get
well-meaning men to confront the attitudes they inherited, to change -- so that "think
mathematically" does not mean the same as "think
like a man."  Mathematics has
myriad voices.
Hear all
us.                                   a Fibonacci poem by JoAnne Growney      

     This posting continues my thank-you (begun yesterday, November 22) to Mary Gray.  I was reminded of her achievements recently by a review in the 16 November 2012 issue of Science; therein, Georgina M. Montgomery reviews Women Scientists in America:  Volume 3, Forging a New World Since 1972 by Margaret W. Rossiter (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2012).  Rossiter singles out Gray not only for her founding of AWM, an organization that has meant much to me, but also for her expert testimony before Senator Edward Kennedy's 1979-80 "women in science" bill, which established an advisory committee on women and minorities for the National Science Foundation.  Gray -- an attorney, a statistician, and a feminist -- has been for many years an expert advocate for math-women.  
     After all these years, are things better?  YES, I think so, but not good enough.  Too few math-women are visible, audible, and published.  For example, NPR has only its "math-guy."  In the October issue of Mathematics Magazine, none of eleven authors of seven articles/notes are female.
     Moreover, math-women keep telling me that they continue to notice -- in any mathy gathering -- how many other women are in the room (see my 9 October 2011 posting.)


  1. It is unfortunate that there are so few women in math and the sciences. I majored in physics and math, ended up in grad school in physics, though was close to choosing math. While I think it is excellent background for anyone, I ended up leaving it for medicine, in no small part due to the issues of being a woman in the physical sciences.

    1. Thanks for your comment. Sorry, though, not to have a name for the person behind the words.