Throughout history, the under-representation of women leaders has taken generations to confront and overcome, with gross untapped potential still lying dormant within society today.
The bedrock of culture and social functionality was built upon the perception of male domination and success, causing many culture-shaping women to be lost in the landslide of revolutionary ideas.
While men have played an undeniably crucial role in the mathematics arena, it is essential to shine a light on the remarkable women who have been instrumental in developing STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering, and importantly, Mathematics.
Dr Calvin Irons, Co-founder of ORIGO Education – Australia’s largest mathematics education company – points out that ‘historically speaking, the Greeks achieved much in mathematics, but generally relied on geometry to explore problems.
“They established general knowledge that, at the time, they called mathema. Analysis of the manuscripts indicates that many developments took place during the Dark Ages and point to a female mathematician, Hypatia,” said Dr Irons.
“Hypatia’s contributions involved several mathematics fields, including advanced geometry, computation methods, and applications to astronomy.
“It is known that she was a great teacher and did contribute much to recording the ideas of the time. Historians now feel that she added much to the advancements credited to others.”
One might wonder, why should we care about the history of mathematics? The answer is that history tends to repeat itself, and it is imperative to ensure women are better represented in the future.
Hypatia was the tip of the iceberg for the revolutionary women of her time, and there are many who have not been provided with the recognition they so much deserved.
ORIGO Education is committed to championing all students to unlock their mathematical minds and contribute to the STEM field with passion and innovation.
James Burnett, Co-founder and Executive Chairperson of ORIGO Education, has dedicated his life to making mathematics enjoyable and meaningful to young learners.
His 17-year-old daughter, follows in his footsteps, creating a YouTube channel called Gem Stones to inspire children across the globe to love learning maths through her fun and engaging videos.
“The world is becoming more digital, and the jobs of the future will require more of us to be able to understand and apply mathematics. I hope my videos motivate young children, and especially girls, to keep learning mathematics, which will give them opportunities to have exciting and well-paid jobs,” said Gemma.
Gemma wants to encourage young students to consider STEM careers as she believes it’s the way of the future.
The recent 2020 Women in Technology Awards highlighted outstanding women who make significant contributions to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.
From developing apps that prevent skin cancer from utilising spider venom to fight against parasites, these women are making a difference in others’ lives through their careers in STEM.
Women in Technology (WiT) President Dr Claudia Giurgiuman said that although 2020 had been a challenging year, these women needed to celebrate their efforts.
“Many women are doing amazing work, and our awards are about giving them the recognition they deserve,” she said.
“Women are stepping up and claiming their seat at the table – as they should. We exist to propel these women forward in their careers by offering support and appreciation.”
We are stepping into a new era of industrial growth, and it is universally understood that nothing grows to its full potential hidden in away the shadows.
These women should not be the world’s best-kept secret. It is about time we scrape beneath the tip of the iceberg to see the mountain of past and present contributions from women in the mathematical field.
SheSociety is a site for the women of Australia to share our stories, our experiences, shared learnings and opportunities to connect.