Women into Maths PhDs! Or: why qualified women don’t apply.

Recently, a friend of mine shared an article by the Harvard Business Review on the different application strategies of men and women: While men apply to a job when they meet around 60% of the criteria mentioned in the advert, women only apply if they are 100% qualified! The article then carefully explains how women are not confident enough in their abilities to apply, even if they are highly skilled and would excel in the advertised role.

Of course, this issue appears across all domains, but is naturally prevalent in fields where women are already underrepresented – one of them being mathematical research. According to the LMS report 2013, only about 6% of maths professors in the UK are female, but women make up 40% of undergraduate mathematics students in the UK! However, they do not choose to continue their academic career as much as their male colleagues do, a phenomenon known as the “leaky pipeline”.

What we can do.

To change the status quo, I have teamed up with two colleagues and founded the Piscopia Initiative, named after Elena Piscopia, the first women ever to be awarded a PhD. Keeping the aforementioned article in mind, we want to boost the confidence of already highly qualified women and non-binary students to encourage them to submit competitive PhD applications in maths and adjacent fields.

After highly successful campus and online events across Scotland, we are now organising PiFORUM 2020, a virtual conference featuring an application bootcamp. Interested students can join us from the 7th to the 11th of September to connect with other students and learn more about PhD life. There will be copious opportunities to ask questions about the application process and to work on their own applications. We will even conduct individual mock interviews to prepare the participants in the best way possible for their steps towards their PhD.

Applications are now open!

Thanks to our sponsors, the event is free to attend, and all participants will receive a goody bag with supplementary materials and a few nice things to get them through the week. So if you like maths but are not convinced a PhD is for you, please apply for the PiFORUM 2020 to find out more about the possibilities you have! Similarly, if you are a lecturer, personal tutor, or professor, please encourage your women and non-binary students to join us for PiFORUM 2020!

Combatting the leaky pipeline. One application at a time.

All info: www.piscopia.co.uk