C2C: Women’s stories in mathematics

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C2C: Women’s stories in mathematics
by  Sam Prough, University of Wisconsin-Madison


I am thrilled to become part of GEA as well as have the opportunity to attend the GEA 2018 conference! I’m excited to share my research that unpacks the math stories of individuals who identify as women in an effort to understand how they can be supported in learning by looking at their collective experiences as a new and meaningful form of truth.

As the world spirals into a realm of post-truth, people seem to be scrambling to find facts and prove objectivity in order to counteract statements and opinions lacking evidence and substance. When this tightening of accepted truths and truthful stories occurs across the news and even research, what or whose truth is valued? What or whose stories are heard?

What or whose truth is valued? What or whose stories are heard?

There’s a profound irony in how I have placed myself within the hierarchy of stories and truth telling in research. I was more than surprised to have my work accepted for the GEA 2018 conference. In fact, as an early graduate student, I had chalked up the application merely as an opportunity to practice my skills of promoting and concisely writing about my work. This entrenched lack of confidence that such work would be considered meaningful by others was really an internalized thought about what stories or truths would be considered meaningful within academia as a whole.

Within mathematics education the accepted truth of what counts as math learning is narrow and additionally emphasizes the perspective of men. Math is frequently framed as highly masculine and often accessible only to a select few. The ideas and learning of underrepresented individuals, such as women in mathematics, are frequently made invisible.

Research is at a crucial crossroads. I would argue that research can recognize a more meaningful array of truths by listening and embracing the stories of these often made invisible individuals. I’m interested in what new things this can show us about women’s experience in math education. By exploring multiple women’s stories in math, it is possible to recognize a range of experiences that create an environment of what counts as math learning for women.

What are other ways that gender education research can function in a post-truth society without erasing the voices of the very individuals that they study? I look forward to attending #GEACONF2018 to find out!


If you are attending conference, let us know on Twitter using the hashtag: #GEAconf2018

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