27% of mathematics undergraduates in Oxford are female. We would like the figure to be higher and we are putting a lot of resource in to making it so. However, it is also important that current female and non-binary Oxford mathematicians feel they have time and space to discuss and share experiences that may be specific to them.
The Mirzakhani Society is the society for women studying maths at Oxford, named after Maryam Mirzakhani, the first woman to win a Fields Medal (Maryam met the society in September 2015 on her visit to Oxford to collect her Clay Mathematics Institute Research Award). With over 100 active members, it holds relaxed weekly ‘Sip and Solve’ meetings (aided by high-quality baking), and socials and talks. In a University where your immediate and regular contact is often limited to other members of your college, it is an invaluable way of broadening contacts and providing a support network. The society is open to both undergraduates and postgraduates, and is central in encouraging more women to take a fourth year (undergraduates currently can choose between the three and four year mathematics courses). Find out more about the society on their website.
On Saturday 27 February 2016, the society (pictured) met up with their Cambridge University counterparts, the Emmy Noether Society, sharing experience of gender equality in the universities. Three speakers gave their perspectives: Anne Davis, a Professor of Mathematical Physics and the University Gender Equality Champion for STEMM subjects at Cambridge: Perla Sousi, a Lecturer in the Statistics Laboratory at Cambridge; and Christie Marr, Deputy Director of the Isaac Newton Institute. Thanks to the London Mathematical Society for funding the trip.