Words of women in mathematics in the time of pandemic
This project emanates from a group of mathematicians, Sonia Mahmoudi (Tohoku U., Japan), Claudia Malvenuto (U. di Roma La Sapienza, Italy), Sylvie Paycha (U. Potsdam, Germany) and Eriko Shinkawa (Tohoku U., Japan) after informal conversations about their experience during the pandemic. We would like to bring this follow up project to life together with the authors of Faces of “Women in Mathematics” (https://vimeo.com/259039018), the mathematician Eugenie Hunsicker (U. of Loughborough, England) and the filmmaker Irina Linke. We hope to benefit from their experience as well as that of Sylvie Paycha, the curator of a touring exhibition “Women of Mathematics throughout Europe. A Gallery of Portraits” (https://womeninmath.net/), which was shown in well over a hundred locations around the world.
In February2018, Eugenie Hunsicker, Director of Equality and Diversity and Senior Lecturer at the School of Science of the University of Loughborough, also Chair of the Women in Mathematics Committee of the London Mathematical Society (LMS) and Irina Linke, documentary filmmaker and social anthropologist, produced a short film Faces of Women in Mathematicsfor the International Women’s Day March 8th 2018. Women of mathematics around the world were asked to introduce themselves with their name, their location and to say that they were mathematicians. The film project, which was supported by the Committee for Women in Mathematics (CWM) of the International Mathematical Union (IMU), the London Mathematical Society, comprises 146 clips of 243 women mathematicians from 36 different countries speaking 31 different languages. For this film and her exceptional dedication to increasing the success and visibility of women in mathematics as well as her mathematical achievements, Eugenie Hunsicker was nominated as AWM Fellow 2021.
This very successful project, which received amazing resonance from the general public, has contributed to making women working in mathematics more visible. With their enthusiasm, the protagonists of the film conveyed an unusual jolly vision of mathematics which speaks to people outside of the discipline which otherwise suffers from a stereotyped reputation of being out of reach and rather dry. Three years later and with a year of pandemic behind us, we plan a follow up of the project with words of women in mathematics, sharing with us their experience during the pandemic. This pandemic has indeed made women, and in particular women in mathematics, more invisible than ever and we hope that this project will contribute to letting them be heard and seen. Therefore, we plan to collect the thoughts of these women, regarding how the pandemic has affected their personal or professional life as mathematicians. Their contributions will be the object of a new video to be launched on May 12th, date of the anniversary of Maryam Mirzakhani's birthday, which celebrates worldwide women in mathematics. We intend to show the resulting video onvarious platforms and social media channels, reaching out to a general audience, well beyond the mathematical community from whom we expect a lot of feed-back.