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Retrospect: annual meeting EWM-NL – Math for all! (30 november 2016)

“Math for all!”, the third annual meeting of EWM-NL (the Dutch section of European Women in Mathematics), took place on November 30th 2016. The topic was the gender imbalance at Dutch mathematics departments. Frank den Hollander (Leiden) discussed the current numbers of female mathematicians, and the solutions proposed in the Deltaplan. The research on implicit biases was reviewed by Naomi Ellemers (Utrecht), and the EWM-NL mentor network was promoted by Lisanne Rens (CWI). Corina Brussaard (UvA/NIOZ) offered her personal view and advice on gender equality. The final speaker was Tomas Brage (Lund), who shared his perspective on gender balance and suggested many practical options for improvement.


Some of the suggested measures discussed during the meeting include:

– adding ‘bias observers’ to discussions of job search committees and research grant committees;
– advertising all job openings publicly;
– systematic gender training for persons in leadership positions;
– organizing events for women only, for example on the day before a conference or workshop;
– creating a prize for departments that take initiatives towards improving the gender balance;
– checking teaching materials for sexist portrayals of men and women;
– guaranteeing that the amount of time taken for parental leave is added to every temporary contract;
– getting rid of the short time frames during which researchers can apply for a Veni, as these deadlines put a lot of    pressure on young researchers to perform at a time when they also typically want to start a family.

Announcement: 30 november 2016: annual meeting: Mathematics for all! (men and women)

We would like to invite all of you (female AND male junior and senior mathematicians, directors of institutes, deans, management, gender officers, human resource management, etc.) to come together to discuss and together improve the gender balance in mathematics during the next annual meeting of EWM-NL: Math for all! (men and women)

Program schedule:
12.45 – 13.00: Arrival
13.00 – 13.30: Frank den Hollander – Deltaplan
13.30 – 14.30: Naomi Ellemers – Implicit Biases
14.30 – 15.00: Break
15.00 – 15.30: Lisanne RensMentor network EWM
15.30 – 16.00: Corina Brussaard – Career advice
16.00 – 17.00: Tomas Brage – Practical advice on improving gender balance
17.00 – 18.00: Drinks

We would like to emphasize that although our organization is aimed at women, we very much welcome male mathematicians to our meeting! The issues at hand can only be solved together with the whole mathematics community. So please join us in our meeting and let’s discuss!


Date: November 30th
: Academiegebouw, Utrecht
Attendence is free, but registration (here) is appreciated for catering purposes.

The coordinators of the European Women in Mathematics (EWM-NL)

Stéphanie van der Pas
Sarah Gaaf
Lisanne Rens
Sanne Willems

10 February 2016 – Workshop on Negotiation and Conflict Resolution, CWI AmsterdamI

In February 2016, EWM-NL organized a workshop on negotiation and conflict resolution. Due to the large number of registrations, in the end two workshops were held, with PhD students, postdocs and assistant professors from all over The Netherlands attending. The workshop, given by Daniel Schut of Hertz, training for scientists, started with a fun game, which led to a large number of useful insights into preparing for and participating in a negotiation. The workshop then continued with an interactive presentation on negotiation and conflict resolution, and concluded with an opportunity for all participants to put the theory into practice. Afterwards, the participants got to know each other better over some food and drinks. The board of EWM-NL would like to thank all attendees for their enthusiastic participation, and hopes to see everyone at our upcoming events!


Wednesday 4 March 2015 – EWM-NL meeting – Academiegebouw Utrecht

Last Wednesday, 4 March 2015, the annual meeting of the European Women in Mathematics – the Netherlands took place at the Academiegebouw in Utrecht. It was generously sponsored by Platform Wiskunde Nederland (PWN).

The afternoon started off with four excellent talks by female researchers, each representing one of the four mathematics clusters in the Netherlands: Charlene Kalle (STAR, Leiden University) explained how random continued fractions arise on the intersection of ergodic theory and number theory; Miranda Cheng (GQT, University of Amsterdam) introduced the remarkable connection between monstrous sporadic groups and modular objects; Martina Chirilus-Bruckner (NDNS+, University of Leiden) shed some light on the mathematics (partial differential equations) behind optical fibres. Finally, Karen Aardal (Diamant, TU Delft) told us how mathematical algorithms can save lives by calculating the optimal positions and movements of ambulances in the Netherlands.

Afterwards, Petra de Bont (NWO) commented on the deplorable situation of women in mathematics in Europe and in the Netherlands in particular. She then invited the audience to engage in a discussion which yielded several helpful recommendations to NWO and mathematics departments, that could help to improve this situation.


Wednesday February 19, 2014 – EWM-NL meeting

The second EWM-NL meeting took place on Wednesday February 19. We would like to thank our speakers and everyone attending, to have made their way to the Lorentz Center@Snellius in Leiden and make this meeting a success.

There were three mathematical talks by female speakers, representing some of the mathematics clusters in the Netherlands: GQT, STAR and NDNS+. Vivi Rottschäfer (Leiden, NDNS+) in her talk “Patterns in natural systems” gave an example of a research project studying patterns in mussle populations, in collaboration with ecologists. This was modelled by the so-called Cahn-Hilliard equation, previously mostly used in physics. Mathisca de Gunst (VU Amsterdam, STAR) illustrated her research in “Stochastic modeling and statistical analysis” with a detailed description of a project, on understanding ion channels through hidden Markov chain models. This also resulted in new mathematical results. Then Federica Pasquotto (VU Amsterdam, GQT) explained some of the general ideas behind “Symplectic topology and Hamiltonian dynamics”, such as why the non-squeezing theorem tells us why symplectomorphisms are worth studying. The talks gave an interesting overview of the wide range of mathematics covered in the Netherlands, allowing the speakers to share their enthusiasm for their fields with the audience.

After that, Isabel Hoving, Leiden’s recently appointed diversity officer, gave a talk titled “Tools for Change: How to work towards gender balance in mathematics” in which she stated some important facts, explained phenomena like implicit bias and suggested ways for improving (gender) equality within universities. The discussion that started here, was then continued over drinks. This was also a social end to the meeting.


Friday April 26, 2013 – first EWM-NL activity

On April 26th the first EWM-NL took place at the Mathematical Institute of Utrecht University. Karma Dajani gave a talk on her personal experiences as the only female academic staff member in Utrecht and raised some important questions such as “why are there not more female mathematicians?”. In the discussion session afterwards, these and other issues were covered in smaller groups. The discussion continued during drinks in the library, which marked the end of the first meeting.




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