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Photo of headshots of women mathematicians featured in the film as well as a blackboard

Academic raises awareness of the impact of the pandemic on women in mathematics through new film

Senior Lecturer Dr Eugenie Hunsicker – along with four research mathematicians and a filmmaker and social anthropologist – has produced a film entitled “Words of Women in Mathematics in the Time of Corona”, which is currently being showcased at a UNESCO exhibition.

headshot of Dr Eugenie Hunsicker

The film features 87 women mathematicians from across the world who speak more than 25 different languages. They talk to the camera about the pandemic changing their personal and professional lives, particularly when school closures occurred during lockdowns.  

Themes emerge in the film related to community, connection and isolation, as well as balancing work, family and other interests.  The video is testament to the transformation brought about by the pandemic, with its corresponding struggles and benefits. It also demonstrates the tremendous resilience with which women mathematicians and women more generally have reacted to these. 

The idea of the film came about after Dr Hunsicker previously worked with filmmaker Dr Irina Linke in 2018 to create ‘Faces of Women in Mathematics’ – which was viewed across the globe and raised awareness and visibility of women mathematicians on an international scale as part of International Women’s Day celebrations. In the summer of 2021, Dr Hunsicker was approached by women experts in the field who proposed a new film be created to acknowledge the impact of the pandemic on women.  

The Chair of the Committee for Women in Mathematics of the International Mathematical Union, Marie-Francoise Roy, saw the call for submissions to the UNESCO Creative Resilience Art by Women in Science exhibition and recommended Dr Hunsicker and the team apply to have the film showcased.  

Although the timeframe was tight, and there was some doubt as to whether they would be successful, they received the welcoming news that the film would be played as part of the exhibition, featured alongside work in the form of paintings, photography, sculpture and more.  

Speaking about the film and the UNESCO exhibition, Dr Hunsicker commented: “I have had a look at the exhibition and there is so much fantastic work celebrating the strength and resilience that women in science from around the world have shown in the face of the scientific, cultural and personal challenges associated with the Covid-19 pandemic.  

“Looking through the artwork, I was inspired by the fantastic international community I am lucky to be a part of, who deserve much more recognition than they have generally received.” 

To watch the film, visit the dedicated webpage here. The exhibition is currently being displayed at the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris until 1 December, in addition to a virtual exhibition that can be explored online