March 19, 2024

Women in Mathematics Panel Discussion & Reception

On 19 March, the Siyakhula Festival dedicated a special evening to celebrating the achievements and potential of women in mathematics, marked by an engaging panel discussion and reception. The event commenced with a powerful welcoming speech by Angela Tabiri, renowned for her advocacy and support for women in the field across Africa. Recently nominated for a Falling Walls award, Dr Tabiri shared insights into bolstering support for women in mathematics at AIMS and throughout the continent, setting a tone of empowerment and inclusivity.

Following the speech, the event transitioned into a dynamic networking session designed to foster connections and encourage dialogue among attendees. Participants were encouraged to introduce themselves to new colleagues through lightning pitches, facilitating a lively exchange of ideas and experiences.

The panel discussion, featuring notable mathematicians including Kerstin Jordaan, Cerene Rathilal, Angela Tabiri, and Tendai Mugwagwa, delved deeper into strategies for implementing Dr. Tabiri’s suggestions to support women in mathematics. This discussion was not only reflective but also forward-looking, focusing on practical measures to enhance the participation and visibility of women in the field.

Adding a unique dimension to the evening, Pelonomi Moiloa, Jade Abbott, and Ulrike Tillman shared invaluable tips on speaking confidently in public, encapsulated by the empowering message: ‘be scared and do it anyway.’ This advice resonated deeply with participants, highlighting courage and resilience as key attributes for success in mathematics and beyond.

The event, sponsored by the National Institute for Theoretical and Computational Sciences (NITheCS), was a testament to the vibrant community of women mathematicians at the Siyakhula Festival and beyond. It was a magical evening that not only celebrated the contributions of women to mathematics but also sparked conversations on further empowering this vital segment of the scientific community.

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