Monday 17 December 2018

‘Is this satire?’: Women in maths poster goes viral for advertising four male speakers

The poster advertised an event for the Women In Math club.

(Stephanie Driggs.PA
(Stephanie Driggs.PA

By Taylor Heyman, Press Association

A women in maths organisation at a US university has been criticised for a poster featuring only male speakers for an event.

Stephanie Driggs, 20, a graphic design student at the Brigham Young University in Utah shared a photo of the poster on campus after tracking it down from an Instagram post by a friend.

Captioned “… is this satire?” the poster advertised a talk for women in mathematics by four BYU professors, saying “come learn about research done in data science topology, number theory and dynamical systems”.

Driggs took issue with the presence of four male speakers on a poster for a women’s event.

(Stephanie Driggs/PA)

“My purpose in posting this photo was to evoke some sort of reaction and get a conversation started,” she told the Press Association.

“It was not intended to be a personal attack on whoever created the poster, but rather an opportunity to raise awareness and get a conversation started about sexism and the lack of female representation in STEM (Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) programs.”

It seems many on the social media platform agreed with her; the tweet was retweeted over 10,000 times.

Some, however thought the issue was down to bad design, citing the club welcomed female speakers regularly.

Driggs said the reaction has been “crazy”.

“When I initially posted the tweet, I knew it would probably get a little more traffic than my other posts, but I did not expect it to get the amount of attention that it did,” she said.

Many of you have probably seen a poster circulating around the Internet from our Women in Math Organization! The poster...

Posted by BYU Math on Wednesday, February 21, 2018

The BYU maths department responded to criticism of the poster on its Facebook page, clarifying it was not satire and writing:

“The posters have been replaced with a more appropriate message. We very much value the Women In Math organisation.”

The department did not yet respond to a request for further comment.

The Women In Math club meets every fortnight to network and support women in the subject.

Press Association

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