Long ago (1988) I moved to Berkeley and started sending a monthly "newsletter" to my Boston friends. When I returned to Boston (1993), I continued the tradition for about five more years (or until I had kids). Looking back, I realize that I was actually blogging. Each newsletter contained anywhere from a few to several blog posts. Having been silent for the past decade or so, I've decided to resume these activities. Don't expect anything profound -- I tend to focus on what I find entertaining or amusing and perhaps sometimes informative. We shall see!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Math, Gender, and Race

Here I am at the Massachusetts State Mathcounts competition. These are arguably the top middle school mathematicians in the state, and I have to confess at being struck by some interesting demographics. I don't have the actual numbers for this, but the organization is run by grey-haired white males; the preponderence of the coaches are women; the vast majority of the competitors are male. The male to female ratio is about 4:1. My impression is that if you are a private school, that greatly increases the probability that there are women on the team.

The top 10 students in the state are all male. Of those, by appearances, only 2 are Caucasian. The remaining 8 appear to all be of Asian descent, perhaps either Chinese or Indian.

I'm not sure what to make of all this, but as a woman in a STEM field, I find it pretty depressing.