Women in Maths Day Events

The University of Melbourne

On May 13, The University of Melbourne hosted an event for Women in Maths Day. This was a panel discussion with three women professors from the School of Mathematics and Statistics: Prof Kate Smith-Miles, Prof Antoinette Tordesillas and Prof Malwina Luczak. Those in attendance included undergraduate students, postgraduate students, academics and visitors from industry. Each of the panellists spoke to the audience about what area of maths/stats they work on, why/how they got interested in this area, advice for their younger self, how to find the right sort of collaborators and the barriers they have faced getting to where they are. 

Swinburne University of Technology

Fatima Ansari and Pinkee Dey both presented inspiring talks at the Swinburne celebration of Women in Maths day. Fatima Ansari shared her research on ‘Less is more in the chemotherapy of breast cancer‘. She compared two different commonly used approaches in chemotherapy administration and found that the metronomic approach delivers better patient outcomes and reduces the cost of medication. Pinkee Dey shared her research on ‘Thermomagnetic convection in ferromagnetic nanofluids‘. Thermomagnetic convection can provide an alternative way to cool devices when gravitational convection is not able to be used such as in space applications. 

Monash University

On May 9, Monash University hosted an event for Women in Maths Day. There was a special colloquium by Distinguished Professor Kerrie Mengersen from QUT followed by a panel discussion. Kerrie spoke about “The Mathematics of Change: viewing the world’s oldest discipline through a female lens”. She spoke about modern day female mathematicians as well as the pioneering female mathematicians in history. The panellists were from Mathematical Sciences and Econometrics and Business Statistics: Prof Kerrie Mengersen (QUT), Prof Jessica Purcell, Prof Di Cook (EBS) and nominated actuary Julie Cook (EBS). Each of the panellists gave a brief introduction of themselves and spoke about why they loved their jobs and also discussed the challenges faced by female mathematicians. Undergraduate as well as Honours students, along with staff, attended this event and they asked many questions. There were about 70 people who attended, and about 50% were male.

UNSW Sydney

On Thursday 16 May, UNSW hosted a lunch in the School to celebrate the  inaugural May 12, celebration of Women in Mathematics Day. Around 50 attendees gathered in the staff room, and were welcomed by Prof Catherine Greenhill, who gave some background on the global initiative. She told everyone that goal of the event is to inspire women everywhere to celebrate their achievements in mathematics, and to encourage an open, welcoming and inclusive work environment for everybody. The month of May was chosen to honour the first female Fields Medallist, the late Prof Maryam Mirzakhani, whose birthday fell on May 12. Excerpts from two short films were screened: Faces of Women in Mathematics and Journeys of Women in Mathematics. The lunch brought together a range of attendees including School staff, undergraduate and postgraduate students, and academic staff members from across the university.

The University of Western Australia

At UWA, we had a small and informal afternoon tea on Monday 13 May for female PhD students, postdocs, academic staff and visitors. It presented a chance to meet, to introduce ourselves and get to know each other a little and to plan what we might want to do in future. Prof Cheryl Praeger, who was at our meeting, was one of the eight women who formed the “MM Shield” at the 2014 International Congress of Mathematicians to make sure that Maryam Mirzakhani had no problems at the ICM. She told us a little about this experience with Maryam, and Maryam’s connection with Iranian women mathematicians. Two main ideas came out of the meeting: to include Honours and possibly 3rd-year students, and to have joint meetings for the different Perth universities.

South Australia

The first Women in Maths Day SA Career Conference went splendidly. This one-day conference, organised by Flinders University, The University of South Australia and The University of Adelaide, hosted five different sessions, attended by over 90 people. The keynote speakers, Prof Eva Bezak and Prof Nalini Joshi, both emphasised the value of diversity in mathematics and importance of events such as this. We received an overwhelming response and very positive feedback. And yes, the Vice Chancellor of Adelaide Uni was also there! Another highlight were the women in maths posters on display throughout the day. These posters, created by Dr Melissa Humphries with the help of the organising committee, celebrated a range of female mathematicians in a variety of careers. We are proud to announce these posters are now available for download at https://acems.org.au/Women-in-Maths-Spotlight.  

The University of Wollongong

The Wollongong event on May 14 went excellently; we had participation from several levels including undergraduate and postgraduate students as well as staff in maths and related disciplines. Feedback from a female-identifying postgraduate student on the day described the talks as “surprising and inspiring”. The organisers also met with some other staff and decided that we will definitely do something again next year, and we already have ideas on how to improve it for 2020.

Latest AustMS WIMSIG Awardees

Congratulations to the following awardees of the inaugural Maryam Mirzakhani Award and the April 2019 round (Round 10) of the Cheryl E. Praeger Travel Awards and Anne Penfold Street Awards. The Praeger Awards are for travel funding (open to all female members of the AustMS) and the Street Awards are for caring expenses incurred whilst travelling (open to all members of the AustMS).

Praeger Award

  • Jessica Kasza (Monash) has been awarded a Praeger Award to attend the Annual Meeting of the Society for Clinical Trials, New Orleans, USA.
  • Tanja Schindler (ANU) has been awarded a Praeger Award for a visit to Kyushu University, Japan.
  • Huanhuan Li (Western Sydney) has been awarded a Praeger Award to attend the Silting Theory Summer School and Conference, Stuttgart, Germany.
  • Michelle Strumila (Melbourne) has been awarded a Praeger Award to attend the Women in Topology workshop, Bonn, Germany.

Street Award

  • Anne Thomas (Sydney) has been awarded a Street Award as an organiser of the Flags, Galleries and Reflection Groups workshop at The University of Sydney.
  • Joan Licata (ANU) has been awarded a Street Award to attend Women in Symplectic and Contact Geometry and Topology and Structured Quartet Research Ensemble in the USA.
  • Dan Mathews (AustMS2019 organiser)

Maryam Mirzakhani Award

  • Fatemeh Ansarizadeh (Swinburne University)

A big thank-you to the Selection Committee, comprised of Julie Clutterbuck (Monash University), Natalie Thamwattana (The University of Newcastle) and Marcy Robertson (The University of Melbourne), for their work in assessing the applications.

Round 11 of the travel awards is now open and closes on October 1, 2019.

If you are receiving this newsletter and would like to join AustMS you can do so here. Membership of AustMS is free for students at Australian universities. The Praeger and Street Awards require membership of AustMS for at least the 12 months prior to submitting an application. If you do join AustMS, remember to select ‘yes’ to being a member of WIMSIG too.

Newsletter of the Committee for Women in Mathematics

The Committee of Women in Mathematics of the International Mathematical Union has begun a newsletter, to be published twice a year.

Research Study into ethnically and culturally diverse women in STEMM

  • Are you a woman working in a STEMM field in Australia (academia or industry)?
  • Do you identify as a woman of colour or as a women form an ethnically of culturally diverse background?
  • Would you like to share your experiences for a new University of Tasmania research study?

Please contact Dr Robyn Moore (The University of Tasmania) – Robyn.Moore@utas.edu.au.


AMSI Winter School

The AMSI Winter School is hosting A Celebration of Mathematics: Diversity in STEM on Wednesday 3 July at 5pm in the Gardens Theatre Foyer, X Block, QUT Gardens Point Campus, Brisbane.

The event welcomes all students, researchers and professionals with an interest in STEM to join for a relaxed evening of talks and lively discussions. The event is free, with light refreshments provided.

Find out more and register to attend at http://ws.amsi.org.au/diversity-in-stem.

Women in Computational Topology: 1-Day Workshop

The primary goal of the workshop is to facilitate the formation of new and lasting research collaborations between junior and senior researchers working in the field of computational topology. The talks will be presented in colloquium style and will be followed by a poster session. All participants are encouraged to submit a poster. 

This event is open to all genders. Student participation is highly encouraged.

Invited Speakers

  • Carina Curto (Pennsylvania State University)
  • Kathryn Hess (EPFL)
  • Claudia Landi (Università degli Studi di Modena e Reggio Emilia)
  • Vanessa Robins (Australian National University)

  Part of the Special Year 2019: Computational Mathematics


Monash University

Capstone Editing Carer’s Travel Grant for Academic Women

grant to provide financial support for academic women who face additional childcare costs when travelling to conduct research or present a paper at a conference. Applications close August 12, 2019.

Capstone Editing Early Career Academic Research Grant for Women

grant to provide financial support for female early career academics in recognition of the additional barriers they face in achieving academic success and advancing their careers. Applications close 3 June 3, 2019.


Have you read an interesting article? Have some news? Have an opportunity available?

Please send items to WIMSIG-news@women.austms.org.au.

Note: Newsletters are published on the 1st day of each month (or soon after). The deadline for submitted items is the 27th day of each month.