According to the United States Census Bureau, women comprise almost half of the workforce but only 27 percent of all STEM employees. While women in mathematics are making progress, there’s still a long way to go to ensure women are equally represented in all STEM professions.
One of the ways women can make gains in male-dominated professions is through participation in math and science clubs at the university level. Women in mathematics clubs offer excellent opportunities for women to grow academically and professionally. There are several excellent reasons for women to join mathematics clubs.
Why Do Women Join Mathematics Clubs?
As women increasingly work toward degrees in STEM fields, they are also showing interest in academic clubs. In particular, women are joining math and science organizations. Professions such as engineering, actuary sciences, computer programming, and financial analysis are a few that require good math skills. Joining women in a mathematics club is a way for women to keep their skills sharp while enjoying the company of other like-minded individuals.
Many women hope to develop new skills to help them find better or future employment opportunities. Engaging in fun activities and connecting with other people with similar interests is a way to accomplish these goals. Being part of a club is a way to unwind after work or class and enjoy time with other students who enjoy math.
How to Find Your University’s Women in Mathematics Club
Many universities offer women in mathematics clubs. The first step is to check with the math department on campus. If you’re currently taking a math course, the instructor likely has information about available clubs and organizations.
Most clubs have a website or online information available. At a large university such as Ohio State University, a student might search with keywords such as “student activities” to find general information about clubs and activities. Most schools, regardless of size, will likely have at least some information online regarding women in mathematics clubs.
- Gender equality is crucial for women’s success in the field of mathematics.
- The Edge Program offers several mathematical resources for women.
- MentorNet can help students learn how mentor/mentee relationships work.
How to Start a Women’s in Mathematics Club
You can start your own women in mathematics club if there isn’t one already on your campus or near your home. Starting a club shows initiative and will look good on your resume. Take the following steps to form a women in mathematics club.
- Assess interest in your club. You might post flyers around campus and discuss potential ideas with peers and other students taking similar classes.
- Find a professor or staff member to help advise and oversee your club. Check with the math department if none of your current instructors are available.
- Register the club with your university’s administration. Some schools may provide online forms, while others may have student organization offices.
- Write a mission statement and a constitution for your women in mathematics club that includes the club’s purpose and objectives.
- Select club officers. You may want three to five individuals with different backgrounds and math niche specialties to make your club as diverse as possible.
- Spread the word regarding your women in mathematics club by creating a website and placing posters and flyers in as many places as possible. Put an announcement in the campus newspaper.
- Hold your first meeting. The first meeting is primarily for getting to know each other, but you’ll want to include at least one fun activity.
- Steminst features inspirational women who are making a mark in math and science.
- The Women in Math Project offers a variety of resources for women.
- Women and Mathematics Education (WME) provides resources as well as a sample mission statement.
Top 5 Reasons to Join a Women in Mathematics Club
Women are making great strides in the field of mathematics. Organizations for women in mathematics are crucial to supporting women and helping them reach their goals. There are several important reasons to join a women in mathematics club.
One primary reason for joining a women in mathematics club is to improve your math skills. You’ll have the opportunity to participate in math games, activities, and competitions that will improve your skills and broaden your knowledge. Club members often learn as much from each other as they would from a classroom instructor. Plus, participating in a women in mathematics club provides opportunities to experience all the positive benefits of peer learning.
- TeachersPayTeachers is an excellent resource for finding mathematics materials at different academic levels.
- JSTOR provides resources for encouraging women in mathematics.
2. Networking and Collaboration
Meeting regularly with peers is a great way to meet people and make valuable connections in mathematics. You may make friends who are part of your professional or personal life for years to come. You’ll also have fun building valuable collaboration skills that you’ll need personally and professionally throughout your life. Women in mathematics clubs can provide various activities andprojects on which members can work together.
- The Women’s Network can help women learn to connect and network in a non-competitive way.
- Rob Cross provides data and research regarding the best ways for women to network.
3. Professional Development
A women in mathematics club can potentially boost your knowledge of your profession. Members can share expertise in their specialized areas, and every club member will have the opportunity to learn, grow, and reach their professional potential. Prospective employers usually find students involved in activities beyond the classroom more impressive than those who are not. Quite simply, participating in a math club looks good on a resume.
- The American Mathematical Society offers resources and information about women in math professions.
4. Build a Safe Space for Women in STEM
Taking part in a women in mathematics club helps women gain confidence in a male-dominated field. Unfortunately, many women don’t receive the support and resources they need during elementary and high school to pursue careers in math and science. There are also fewer role models in mathematics for women than for men. Women in mathematics clubs can provide a safe environment for women to pursue their interests without pressure.
- The Mathematical Sciences Research Institute provides supportive services and resources for women.
5. Lead Future Generations
Women currently holding professional positions in STEM fields and those majoring in STEM in college can provide examples for future generations. Joining existing mathematics clubs and starting new ones will benefit young girls just beginning to show interest in mathematics.
- IDRA explains five important ways to prepare girls and young women for careers in mathematics.
Tips for Networking in Your Women in Mathematics Club
Women in mathematics clubs provide tremendous opportunities to develop professional friendships, learn new skills, and find potential career opportunities. The following are a few tips to make your experiences as successful as possible.
- Set Goals: Decide how many individuals you want to develop professional relationships with. What specific areas of math are you interested in?
- Develop Contacts: Take the time to get to know people in the club. Connect with those you genuinely enjoy spending time with.
- Follow-up: Decide how often you’ll stay in touch with people you’ve connected with.
- Help Others: Helping others isn’t just the right thing to do. It’s also a way to reach your own professional goals while supporting young women in mathematics.
Women in Mathematics Scholarships and Grants
Various universities and mathematical institutions offer scholarships and grants for women in mathematics hoping to start a career in STEM.
- Tensor Women in Grants Mathematics: Up to $6,000 grants are for university faculties to develop mathematics projects for women.
- ABC Humane Wildlife Women in STEM Academic Scholarship:This is for college students studying or planning to study mathematics, technology, or engineering.
- Lerner Education Women in Mathematics Scholarship: This scholarship is for a female high school senior planning to major in mathematics or related fields.
- Math Scholarships for Women: This resource provides scholarships for women in mathematics and related STEM fields.
Statistics on Women in STEM
The following are some important statistics regarding women in mathematics and STEM:
- According to the U.S. Department of Labor, women held 47% of all math occupations in 2019.
- Women held only 27% of all STEM occupations in 2019.
- The World Economic Forum states that less than a third of all female students choose subjects such as engineering and math when studying higher education.
- According to Status of Women in the States, the District of Columbia has the highest percentage of women working in STEM occupations.
Additional Resources for Women in STEM
There are many valuable resources for women in the STEM field looking for more information.
- Association for Women in Mathematics
- Women in STEM
- Mathematical Association of America
- National Science and Math Initiative
Women in mathematics are making great strides, but much work still needs to be done. As opportunities increasingly become available on campuses and in the workplace, women will continue to make their mark in the STEM field and beyond.