New Zealand Mathematical Society

Quick search:

Advanced search

Women in Mathematics

The New Zealand Mathematical Society is concerned about under-representation of women in the mathematics community, from participation in mathematics classes in high school through to the higher levels of research and teaching.

The NZMS is committed to supporting women in mathematics and seeks frameworks and policies that will encourage women to have active careers in the mathematical sciences.

NZMS Council statement on Women in Mathematics

Adopted at the Council meeting on December 3, 2018; read it here.

NZMS Policy on Conferences

The New Zealand Mathematical Society is concerned about the under-representation of women as invited speakers in mathematics conferences. In response to this concern the NZMS will no longer fund or advertise conferences where the proportion of female keynote speakers is below 30% (see below for details on how this should be calculated). We strongly encourage conference organisers, particularly of large conferences, to seek better gender diversity than this level and to ensure female participation at all levels of the conference and its organisation.

Calculation of the proportion female keynote speakers:

- If the conference has parallel sessions and plenary speakers, then 30% of the plenary speakers must be female.

- In the case where the conference has no parallel sessions, but some speakers have longer talk slots the calculation is as follows. If there is one speaker giving a longer talk the 30% rule applies to all other speakers. If more than one speaker has a longer talk slot, then 30% of speakers giving longer talks must be female.

- If the conference has no parallel sessions and all speakers have the same length talk slots, then 30% of the total speaker list must be female.

For conferences wishing NZMS funding or advertising, the websites and materials must clearly indicate who are the keynote speakers (for instance using words such as plenary, keynote, featured). To expediate your request (for funding or advertising) please indicate the proportion of female keynote speakers involved in your conference when you contact NZMS.

Upcoming Events

  • Women in Mathematics lunch

An event will be held at lunchtime on Thursday 7th of December, at the NZMS Colloquium. Please contact Vivien Kirk for more information.

  • If you have any suggestions for future events or initiatives, we would love to hear from you. Please contact Astrid an Huef.
The NZMS recognises that family responsibilities can be a barrier to attendance at conferences. To help address the possible financial barriers for parents or carers to attend conferences or workshops, the NZMS would like to make it clear that additional costs related to family responsibilities are eligible for funding within the NZMS Student Travel Grant and NZMS Financial Assistance programmes. 

Funding Opportunities


  • The Leah Edelstein-Keshet Prize. In February 2016 the Officers and Elected Directors of the Society for Mathematical Biology unanimously approved the Leah Edelstein-Keshet Prize to recognize the exceptional scientific contributions made by a woman in mathematical biology. The award will be given every other year beginning in 2017. The official announcement and further information can be found in the SMB digest.

Past events

  • A Reception for Women in Mathematics and their Supporters was held after the NZMS AGM on Monday 5th December at NZ Mathematics Colloquium.
    Everyone is welcome. The reception was sponsored by Te Pūnaha Matatini and was chaired by Dion O'Neale. A title and abstract-like description of the theme for the event is:
'Being an ally: what we can all do to improve equity.'

Advocating for improved equity is a task that often falls to members of under-represented groups. This is problematic for a number of reasons; not least because it means that some of the voices that most need to be heard are least numerous and are, perhaps, undermined by perceptions of self-interest.

This event will begin with some background on what it means to be an ally, the benefits it can bring, and some of the potential pitfalls that can be associated with it. Over drinks, we will discuss the things that we can all do as individuals, both at work and at home, in order to improve equity in our departments and the New Zealand mathematical sciences community. 

This event comes with a code of conduct, which you can read about here.

  • Childcare related costs funding for NZMS Colloquium 2016

To help address the possible financial barriers for parents or carers to attend the Colloquium in 2016 we made a modest amount of money available to assist with the costs related to childcare responsibilities. This was a trial year and we are interested in any feedback from members.

  • A Women in Mathematics Networking event was held during the NZMS Colloquium on Tuesday 1 December, 6pm in Erskine 447 (Erskine Building, corner of Science and Engineering Roads).
As a particular talking point at the reception, we suggest people inform themselves about the recent SAGE initiative in Australia, and especially the pilot of the Athena SWAN Charter in Australian STEM organisations. How would we start something similar in NZ? 
  • A panel discussion on "Parental leave, part-time status and negotiating these things" was held in Erskine 445 at 1:30pm on Wednesday 2 December during the NZMS Colloquium.
This dinner highlighted the mathematical careers of the female plenary speakers at the ANZMC and celebrated women in mathematics, stimulating conversation on topics that impact the careers of all mathematicians. 

Useful Links & Resources

  • Gender Bias in Academe is an annotated bibliography of important recent studies relating to gender bias in academia put together by some researchers at the London School of Economics and Political Science.
  • Project Implicit is a fun quiz from Harvard University to find out your implicit associations about race, gender, sexual orientation, and other topics.
  • Athena SWAN Charter is a (UK based) initiative which recognises commitment to advancing women's careers in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine (STEMM) employment in higher education and research.
  • Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) Initiative has been recently launched and is running a pilot of the Athena SWAN Charter in Australian universities.

Related Groups & Organisations


Mailing list

Please email Astrid an Huef if you would like to be added to an email list for updates on events and news on gender equality in mathematics.