Women in mathematics education: pathways to participation
Master of Education
Women and mathematics (participation)
Women mathematics educators
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Improving the participation of women in mathematics education at the post-secondary level, requires a deeper understanding of how women orient themselves within two very distinct domains: mathematics and education. Each domain holds competing ideas of the purpose of mathematics, including who should participate, which further adds to the complexity of how women position themselves at the intersection in the field of mathematics education. This narrative inquiry highlights the personal pathways—including experiences, thoughts, and stories—to becoming a woman mathematics educator at the post-secondary level. The research questions guiding this inquiry are: Why do women decide to teach mathematics education at the post-secondary level? What are the experiences of women mathematics educators who had “overcome barriers”? What are the critical moments along their pathway to participation? This inquiry brings together critical feminist theory, psychoanalytical perspectives, and social constructivist theory to understand the perception of women, the complexity of their gender identity, and how their experiences in mathematics education influence their participation in mathematics. A semi-structured interview was conducted with 5 participants to examine the lived experiences of women in mathematics education, followed by a critical self-reflection to discuss the critical moments to becoming a mathematics educator. The data analysis consisted of two phases. Within narrative analysis involved re-storying of lived experiences and across narrative analysis identified major themes across the women’s experiences and their journey towards mathematics education. The study concludes by offering suggestions to improve the participation of women in mathematics with a particular focus on the importance of storytelling.
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