A leading OU maths professor who has championed the career progression of women in maths in the UK is being recognised with a special award from the Suffrage Science Scheme at a ceremony at Bletchley Park, on Ada Lovelace Day today (11 October).
Professor Gwyneth Stallard OBE, Professor of Pure Mathematics in the OU’s Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, is being honoured as part of the Suffrage Science Scheme, run by the Medical Research Council's Clinical Sciences Centre.
This is the first year that mathematics and computing have been included as a specialism, and Professor Stallard is one of 12 women who will receive awards to celebrate their scientific achievements and their ability to inspire others.
The awards themselves are pieces of jewellery designed by arts students and inspired by science. In two years’ time the 12 women will choose the next winners and pass on the jewellery, creating a network of inspirational women in maths and computing in a manner inspired by the Suffragette Movement.
Professor Stallard has played a leading role in addressing the issues surrounding the career progression of women in mathematics in the UK – for example, although over 40% of maths undergraduates are women, only 7% of maths professors are women. One of her main achievements as chair of the London Mathematical Society’s Women in Mathematics Committee was to oversee the production of a major Benchmarking Survey and Guide to Good Practice for University Mathematics Departments, launched at the House of Commons. The current focus is on organising events for women undergraduates to showcase the wide variety of careers that a PhD in mathematics can lead on to.
Professor Stallard commented: “I love the fact that the awards are pieces of jewellery which we will pass on to the next winners and I hope that together we can form a network to inspire younger women to explore the beauty of mathematics and the huge variety of its applications.”