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Conference for the 30th anniversary of the French association femmes et mathématiques (Women and Mathematics) on « The Teaching of Mathematics: what can be said today about the differences between women and men ? », Paris, September 29-30, 2017

On the occasion of its anniversaries every 10 years, the association femmes et mathématiques has chosen to organise some conspicuous event. For the 10th anniversary in 1997, a one-day conference was organized about four remarkable contemporary women mathematicians, Yvonne Choquet-Bruhat (first woman elected at the French Academy of Science in 1979), Jacqueline Ferrand (1918-2014), Paulette Libermann (1919-2007) and Marie-Hélène Schwartz (1913-2013). For he 20th anniversary, in 2007, the first extensive statistical data pointing out the « disppearance » of women full professors in pure mathematics in France were shown by Laurence Broze and Véronique Chauveau. Moreover it was the first time that the works of the psychologists Steven J. Spencer, Claude M. Steele and Diane M. Quinn (1999) and Pascal Huguet (2002) about the stereotype threat were displayed before a large audience of mathematicians in France, as a tentative explanation for explaining the poorer performance of women in mathematics.

In 2017, for the 30th anniversary of the association, a two-day conference was organised: its objective was to try to understand the (mutiple) reasons why women tend not to go to higher education programs with a fair amount of mathematics though they are rather good students in all subjects, including mathematics and science, and all the way to the end of high school.

This conference was a big success, more than 100 people were present both days, especially some people in responsability at the ministry for national education (primary to high school education), which is a little bit unusual in France. It shows the importance, for people in responsability at the higher level in France, of the question « why so few women in mathematics and in science ? ».

Anne Boyé (Centre François Viète, Nantes) and Michèle Artigue (Laboratoire André Revuz, Université Paris Diderot) discussed the differences in the mathematics education for girls and boys in the 2nd half of the 20th century and gave some comparisons in the international framework.

Valérie Berthé (Institut d’informatique fondamentale, CNRS and Université Paris Diderot) gave a wonderful talk about the Dynamics of Pisot Type and quasi-crystals.

The other talks discussed different points, such as the education of teachers, the performances of the students in mathematics in the terms of gender, the PISA study, the gender stereotypes in science and in mathematics.

The exhibit « Women of Mathematics throughout Europe, a Gallery of portraits » was inaugurated during the conference at the Institut Henri Poincaré and stayed there through the month of October. See http://womeninmath.net

Scientific Committee: Michèle Artigue, Laurence Broze, Edwige Godlewski, Simon Modeste, Fabrice Vandebrouck.

Organising Committee: Gautami Bhowmik, Annick Boisseau, Colette Guillopé, Monique Pontier, Véronique Slovacek-Chauveau, Brigitte Yvon-Deyme.

Forum des jeunes mathématiciennes et mathématiciens, November 22-24, 2017

Organised every year with the support of the Mission for the place of women at CNRS, this conference took place this year at the Institut Élie Cartan de Lorraine in Nancy, on the theme « Mathematics and Interactions ». Four senior women gave talks on subjects as diverse as security and the use of logics, statistical approaches for the ecology of animal displacements, modeling financial risks, or modeling of metamaterials:

Created in 1995, the forum is one of the few occasions for PhD or post-doctoral students in mathematics to give a talk about their work: eighteen mathematicians, mostly women, gave talks in statistics, probability, dynamical systems for biology or physics, computer science and discrete mathematics.

A talk was given by a sociologist, Sabrina Sinigaglia-Amadio (Université de Lorraine in Metz): « Filles et mathématiques : une histoire de petites empêchées… » (Girls and mathematics : a story of little girls who are held back). A mentoring session in small groups was also organised to help deciphering stereotypes in mathematics and in science.

The exhibit « Women of Mathematics throughout Europe, a Gallery of portraits » was inaugurated during the forum at the Université of Lorraine and will stay there for a while. See http://womeninmath.net

Organising committee: Anne de Roton, Anne Gégout-Petit, Régine Marchand, Irène Marcovici.

International Conference on Sexual Harassment in Higher Education and Research, December 4th, 2017, Paris

The association femmes et mathématiques is organizing this conference together with ANEF (French association for feminist studies), CPED (French standing conference of gender officers in universities), Le Mans université, université Paris 8, Aix Marseille université, université Paris Diderot, and the French ministry for higher education, research and innovation. Planned for several months, this conference is taking place at a time when, in France and in the Western world, numerous cases of sexual harassment are being discovered and discussed in the media; this phenomenon concerns every part of the society, including unions of students, or political parties of younger people. There is still a lot to do in universities in France to develop a more welcoming professional milieu for women in general, and women mathematicians in particular. For the conference, see