Women in Mathematics

Women in Mathematics

This SAMS division (established at the 2022 AGM) is headed by Prof. Karin-Therese Howell.


For historical reasons, the participation of women in sciences is low. Mathematics is one such science. While statistics relating to the exact numbers and positions (junior lecturer, senior lecturer, associate professor, professor) of women in mathematics are difficult to obtain, a survey of previous editions of the SAMS Congress reveals significantly fewer women mathematicians giving talks, and the recent article by Eder Kikianty and Loyiso Nongxa on the National Research Rating System in South Africa highlights, among other issues, the low number of women who achieve ratings.


Our aim through our activities is to increase the proportion of women in research mathematics (pure and applied mathematics) in South Africa to approximately 50%, to reflect the proportion of women in society.

We aim to:

1. Create a platform for women mathematicians to share their research and experience in a supportive environment.

2. Increase the visibility of South African women mathematicians, both past and present.

3. Establish a network of women mathematicians to assist with:

(a) linking women in mathematics in new collaborative research projects;

(b) linking early career mathematicians with established women mentors;

(c) finding peer support for women in mathematics in challenges they face.

4. Advise the South African mathematical community on challenges that are affecting women in mathematics in South Africa and how to address them effectively,

5. Network with women mathematicians from other mathematical societies and mathematical initiatives.

6. Offer career and personal development training opportunities for mathematicians.

● an annual WiM activity at the annual SAMS Congress;
● subject specific seminars and short courses;
● panel discussions where established women mathematicians share and reflect on some of their experiences/insights with regards to building their careers;
● promotional activities which share and preserve the history of South African women mathematicians.

Founding Division members:
Dr Thama Duba, Dr Belinda Huntley, Prof Karin-Therese Howell, Prof Eunice Mphako-Banda, Dr Lienke Potgieter, Prof Paran Pillay, Dr Cerene Rathilal, Dr Sarah Selkirk

The initial proposal for the creation of the Division of Women in Mathematics was prepared by Ms S Selkirk and Prof. K-T Howell and approved at the SAMS AGM in 2022.

For more information, please contact Karin-Therese Howell (howell@aims.ac.za)