Women in Mathematics (Week 1, Extra Day)

Yesterday I posted about the excellent theory that the first mathematician was a woman. Today I’m sharing a link on the subject of how women are treated in STEM fields.

But first Randal Monroe has a comment.

How it Works


Sumana Harihareswara used this comic in her keynote address at the Wiki Conference USA, May 30 2014, in New York City. (There is audio (ogg) of the talk here.) She discusses how Hacker School has created an “asshole free zone” by implementing a few simple rules.

  1. No feigned surprise. “When someone says “I don’t know what X is”, you don’t say “You don’t know what X is?!” or “I can’t believe you don’t know what X is!” Because that’s just a dominance display.”
  2. No well-actuallys. “That’s the pedantic corrections that don’t make a difference to the conversation that’s happening.”
  3. No back-seat driving.
  4. And no sexism, racism, homophobia, and so on.

While listening to her talk about these rules it struck me how these rules would be great to implement in a math classroom. The point is to allow people to learn, rather than to allow people to show off.

She has a lot to say about women being the minority in the tech world, and why and how we can change that.


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