School of Science

News

8 Mar 2018

International Women's Day: Lougborough University mathematician puts female mathematicians in the spotlight

A Loughborough University mathematician and her filmmaker sister have created a video for International Women’s Day 2018.

Senior Lecturer Dr Eugénie Hunsicker, of the Department of Mathematical Sciences, and cinematographer Dr Irina Linke have released ‘Faces of Women in Mathematics’ today (Thursday 8 March).

The 13-minute film comprises 146 clips of 243 women from around the world stating their name, nationality and that they are a mathematician.

It features 36 different countries and 31 languages – including Runyankole (Uganda)Malayalam (India) and Tagalog (Philippines) – and was made possible thanks to an online ‘casting call’.

Dr Hunsicker, who chairs the London Mathematical Society’s Women in Mathematics Committee, said: “We didn’t expect to get nearly as many people send in their clips as we did, it’s been phenomenal but busy as we’ve done it all in just over a month.

“The International Mathematical Union's Committee for Women in Mathematics, which I have worked with informally, sees women all over the world work together to ensure information is shared with people in various countries and I was inspired by this.

“I wanted the focus of the film to be on proud, strong women that are actively doing maths, but I also wanted to emphasize that it’s not unusual for women to work in mathematics; there’s so many everywhere that enjoy it and do it as a profession.

“I also saw this as an opportunity for people to see images of strength and pride from developing countries. Yes, it’s a film about women, but it’s also about expanding people’s ideas of who and where is involved in intellectual pursuits.”

Dr Linke added: “Faces of Women in Mathematics was an enjoyable project to work on. It was interesting to see women moved to pursue maths in different countries.

“There are women in the film speaking Chinese in the US, Greek in the Netherlands and there’s a clip of a Russian woman speaking Tatar in Germany. There’s also one clip from the UK in which Hebrew, Brazilian, German and English are spoken.”

Faces of Women in Mathematics was funded by the International Mathematical Union.

There are plans to show the film at various women in mathematics events and women’s film festivals in the future.

You can watch the film here: