Maths is the most popular subject in Australia and a subject you could argue is the best for your family.
But the idea that a mathematician is a woman is not universal.
It has come under fire in the past few years.
A woman mathematician in the US, for example, was publicly shamed for a poem she wrote about her father-in law, John Nash, in which she wrote, ‘My dad’s a mathematician.
I’m a mathematician’.
In February, a British mathematician and historian, Michael Rippon, published a memoir called My Mathematical Life, in Which He Reveals How He Met His Wife, a story of his wife, the mathematician and author Louise Simons.
Simons was the first woman to be elected president of the Royal Statistical Society, and was known for her mathematical prowess.
In a statement about Simons, Rippun said he felt it was ‘essential to recognise the contributions of mathematicians of all backgrounds, in the face of the widespread discrimination that they face’.
‘The truth is that we need to understand the wider context in which mathematicians have been discriminated against, as well as the wider gender context,’ he said.
‘I believe that, with a little patience, this will be a useful starting point for understanding why it’s not easy to be a woman in mathematics.’
A spokeswoman for the Department of Education said that while ‘a number of high-profile individuals’ had been discriminated on the basis of gender, ‘the Government recognises that women are in many ways more valued in mathematics’.
She said the department would look into ‘the experiences of other women who have been involved in mathematics in a range of fields’.
In Australia, it is also believed that many people who were born in the 1940s and 50s were excluded from university mathematics courses and that women have had to do the majority of mathematics work.
The Department of Immigration and Citizenship has published guidelines for what it considers to be appropriate behaviour by women in mathematics.
These include ‘acceptance of the work of others and the responsibility to help to advance mathematics knowledge and skills’.
A spokesperson for the department said it is working to create a ‘career pathway’ for women in maths, with ‘strong incentives to continue their education’.
‘There is an urgent need for the community to continue to support those who are pursuing a career in mathematics and other STEM fields.
‘There are currently no specific policies for women who are seeking to pursue a career as mathematicians or computer scientists in Australia, or who are considering this pathway,’ the spokesperson said.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics has also released guidelines for women mathematicians and computer scientists, saying that they should: ‘Be a woman who has worked in a science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) field or has been a member of a research team’ The guidelines also suggest that the work environment should be supportive and ‘inclusive’.
The Department for Education said it had ‘committed to ensuring that all Australians have access to and are able to access a range, diverse, and high-quality mathematics, science and engineering training’.