First talk at the Diversifying the curriculum conference in Oxford.

The following was taken down live, and as such there may be mistakes and misquotes. It is mostly a way for me to keep notes and to share useful resources and thoughts with others. As such, nothing should be used to quote the speaker from this article














When reading through the Open University’s textbook “Pure Mathematics M208”, in the historical margin notes, the only female mathematician was Emmy Noether. The vast majority of characters were white European men.

The question is how do we create a resource which can tackle issues of diversity in mathematics? This is a recent project begun by June Barrow Green.

It is important to avoid tokenism when thinking about diversity.

Athena Swan – ECU Gender charter – a very useful resource for statistics about women in STEM

What do we mean by diversity: Ethnicity, gender, culture/ Images of mathematicians, who are the students? What research has already been done?

Example given of Eva bayer fluckiger who in 1992 wrote about the ‘Dear Sir’ postcards:

Screenshot 2019-06-17 18.27.48

Material should be open access: Openlearn

Resources can contain: Guidance, Primary sources, secondary sources, assessment suggestions.

Need to think about accessibility, and of how to organise the resources.

If you are going to have students looking into these issues then you probably have to include assessment to get them engaged initially.

The sort of questions you might have them look at are:

  • How have mathematical discoveries been communicated at various periods in history?
  • What motivates people to study maths through different periods of history?
  • What barriers have stood in the way of women mathematicians: Emilie du Chatelet, Germain, Kovalevskaya, Fawcett, Noether, Johnson, Uhlenbeck?
  • Compare the situation of women mathematicians in 1940 with that of today – consider different mathematical communities: Resource: IMU committee for women in mathematics


  • Nice because it’s topic agnostic, and could be used at many different levels
  • Thinking about struggle in mathematics. How do we get past sticking points? How do we change first years from ‘question answering fodder’ to mathematicians?


How clear is this post?