Women and Mathematics Network

WMlogo.gif MAA.gif Serving a Network for Winning Women into Mathematics
An activity of the Mathematical Association of America
Committee for the Participation of Women


The Women & Mathematics Network (W&M Network) is a consortium of Program Directors of outreach programs in mathematics for women and girls. The W&M network will provide:

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The Women and Mathematics Program (W&M), which has been supported by the MAA from 1975 through 1996, has offered over the years many career awareness programs in 20 regions of the country, touching over 200,000 pre-college young women. A MAA Committee on the Participation of Women proposal recommended that W&M, as currently constituted, be ended and that a network be initiated in a format more appropriate to current trends and needs. The proposal was accepted by the Executive and Finance Committee of the MAA.

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The W&M program was not designed to address the equity issues of the 1990's. W&M has been a restricted group that worked only with programs for pre-college students. The demographics in the mathematical education of pre-college students has undergone remarkable change in the 21 years since W&M was founded. Now 47-49 percent of the B.A.'s in mathematics go to women (who make up 52 percent of the college going population). Now 70 percent of high school students matriculate to college whereas 20 years ago only 30 percent of high school graduates went on to college. Today's issues are more diverse and complex than primarily interesting women in mathematically-dependent fields. The issues are about sustaining interest in continuing in mathematics and changing the culture so that women are welcomed into mathematics-dependent professions. Access is a major issue.

To date, the MAA/Tensor Grants have funded 27 outreach programs in mathematics for women and girls. This group of project directors, most of whom are MAA members, are interested in gaining expertise in how to better conduct their programs and sharing ideas about what they are doing. The W&M Program has ten regional coordinators who have directed such programs for pre-college students. These W&M coordinators have met regularly at the January Joint Meetings to attend workshops and share ideas.

The W&M Network would include directors of a wide variety of programs for women of all ages. It would take advantage of the World wide Web and other electronic communication systems.

The Committee on the Participation of Women (CPW) sees the need for such a network. More than 60 persons attended the CPW panel on Intervention Programs at the January 1996 meeting in Orlando and more than 30 attended a similar case study session in Seattle in August 1996. These panels provoked lively discussions. Participants were eager for more information.

Other grant programs are continuing their funding. MAA/Tensor Grants will be made to at least 30 Program directors between 1997 and 2000. Five Program directors received W&M (NSA) Planning grants in 1997. These awards are making a difference across the country for women and girls. A network provides a place to share what is learned with others. Linking these programs together is important in enhancing the impact that these awards make.

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The initial members of W&M Network are current WAM Directors and Regional Coordinators, current and past recipients of MAA/Tensor grants or MAA/NSA planning grants, and SUMMA Consortium members whose projects focus on girls. Participation in W&M is open to anyone interested in conversations on outreach and advocacy programs in mathematics for women and girls. ( Contact Betsy Yanik at yanikel@emporia.edu)

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Updated 03/17/01 by VGK