Women’s Week Opens with a Math Problem — How to Get More Women Mathematicians

History proves that women can master mathematics. Hypatia of Alexandria was so renowned a mathematician in ancient Greece that Raphael included her in his famous classical work, “The School of Athens.” Sophie Germain was a pioneer of elasticity theory, despite pushing against the constraints of 19th century French society, which prompted her to write under a male pseudonym.

But the numbers haven’t been kind to women mathematicians. As the kickoff to Chapman University’s International Women’s Week observance, Chapman President Daniele Struppa delivered a talk on the history of women mathematicians, painting a world that hasn’t always embraced women. Despite the achievements of women like Hypatia and Germain — both of whom  Struppa included in his lecture — women in mathematics today hit walls when it comes to pay, faculty promotions and scholarly respect. Much of that has its roots in stereotypes and sexism, Struppa said.

Those hurdles are bad enough. But to deny women full entry to that arena also denies them a unique brand of joy, he said.

“Mathematics is the greatest love of my life. I fell in love with math when I was five. It’s what keeps me going,” he said. “It’s almost like going to church because of the cleansing effect I get from it. When I see math reduced to a technique, to something that only guys can do, I find it offensive.”

It’s important to encourage girls in the earliest years of school that they are just as capable of tackling mathematics as anyone, he said.

“And that it’s fun,” he said. “That’s the other part of this.”

Women’s Week programming continues through Friday. Most events are open to the public.


  • Women in Mathematics Talk with President Struppa
    • Argyros Forum 201, 10 – 11 a.m.
    • President Struppa will kick off the week’s festivities by giving a talk on the impact women have made within the field of mathematics. Q&A to follow. Refreshments provided! Contact Alisa Driscoll at driscoll@chapman.edu with any questions.
  • Women in Leadership Panel & Networking Event 
    • Argyros Forum 201, 11 a.m. – 12 p.m.
    • Hear from female staff and faculty currently in positions of leadership on the Chapman campus. Panelists include Helen Norris, Chief Information Officer; Dr. Pamela Ezell, Assistant Vice President of Communications; and Dr. Angel Miles Nash, assistant professor of leadership studies. Informal networking reception to follow. Contact Lauren Henderson at lhenderson@chapman.edu with any questions.
  • Womxn’s Herstory Month Kickoff 
    • Argyros Forum Student Union Stage, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.
    • Celebrate Womxn’s Herstory month with artists, performers, and crafts! Contact the Cross Cultural Center at crossculturalcenter@chapman.edu with any questions.
  • Dodge College Women’s Filmmaker Showcase and Q&A 
    • Chapman Studios West, 7 – 9 p.m.
    • Enjoy a night of films curated by female graduate directing students featuring women filmmakers and starring female protagonists. A Q&A with the filmmakers to follow. Contact Rachel Goldberg at rgoldber@chapman.edu with any questions.


  • Disney’s Mary Blair and California Women Artists – A Hilbert Museum Celebration in Honor of International Women’s Day
    • Hilbert Museum, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. (open house) 
    • Come to Chapman’s acclaimed Hilbert Museum of California Art – recently named “Best Museum in Orange County” by OC Weekly – to experience “The Magic and Flair of Mary Blair”! Mary Blair was one of Walt Disney’s favorite artists, and was one of the few women to break the glass ceiling at Disney Studios in the mid-20th century. Her colorful, stylish concept art set the tone for such major 1950s animated features as “Peter Pan,” “Alice in Wonderland” and “Cinderella” – and she returned to Disney later in her distinguished career to design the popular ride “It’s a Small World.”  The Hilbert Museum presents its rare collection of more than 20 of Blair’s whimsical paintings for these projects and more. Get to know one of California’s most groundbreaking artists! Self-guided tour sheet to the Mary Blair exhibition and the works of other California women artists currently on view will be provided.  Enjoy free coffee and cookies as you discover the work of these amazing women! Contact Mary Platt at platt@chapman.edu with any questions.


  • Clothesline Project: A Visual Depiction of Relationship Violence in Our World
    • Attallah Piazza, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. 
    • Trigger warning: please know that the project is powerful and may be disturbing to some folks. The Project brings to light the prevalence of this hidden epidemic giving voice to those who have been impacted. The Chapman University C.A.R.E.S. Clothesline Project brings this issue out of the shadows into the light. Contact Dani Smith at dasmith@chapman.edu with any questions.
  • Gender Equality in the Legal Profession: Looking Back and Advancing Forward
    • Kennedy Hall 147, 11:45 a.m. – 1 p.m.
    • Marisa Cianciarulo, Fowler School of Law Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, will give a talk on issues of gender within the legal profession. Bring your lunch and enjoy this talk as we look forward to the future. Contact Marisa Cianciarulo at cianciar@chapman.edu with any questions.
  • Art Walk Featuring Women Artists 
    • Meet at Collaborative Steps in Keck Center, Noon – 12:30 p.m.
    • Join the director of art collections, Lindsay Shen, as she guides you on an art tour of campus art pieces created by and featuring women. Contact: Lindsay Shen at shen@chapman.edu with any questions.
  • The Sexual Politics of Meat 
    • Argyros Forum 209ABC, 5:30 – 8:30 p.m.
    • “The Sexual Politics of Meat and Intersectionality” Art Exhibition, Doors Open 5:30 p.m., AF209ABC
    • “Why the Sexual Politics of Meat Matters in 2019”  Carol Adams’ lecture presentation 7 p.m., AF209A.

Carol J. Adams is a feminist-vegan advocate, activist and intendent scholar and author of numerous books including her path breaking The Sexual Politics of Meat: A Feminist-Vegetarian Critical Theory. Adams’ work provides an ecofeminist analysis of the interconnected oppressions of misogyny, white supremacy, and speciesism by exploring the way popular culture draws on dominant Western philosophical viewpoints regarding race, gender, and species that further objectification. Contact: CK Magliola at magliola@chapman.edu with any questions.


  • International Women’s Day Resource Fair 
    • Attallah Piazza, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
    • In collaboration with the Muslim Student Association’s Hijab & Kufi Day
    • Come and celebrate all things women at our second annual resource fair. We will fill the Piazza with resources on campus for women such as: health, self-defense classes, student groups, and more. Swing by, grab some refreshments and swag, and visit every booth to see what the Chapman community has to offer women. Raffle prizes, music, and more! Proudly partnering with the Muslim Student Association for hijab and kufi day! Contact: Kristin Beavers at kbeavers@chapman.edu with any questions.



  • Women Writer’s Exhibit 
    • March 4- March 8, Leatherby Libraries 
    • Be sure to stop by the Leatherby Libraries any time during the week to see their featured women writer’s exhibit on display! Contact Esraa Nawar at nawar@chapman.edu with any questions.


Science & Storytelling

Women science writers, including Rebecca Skloot, author of “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks,” will discuss the art of bringing science to life in a panel hosted by Schmid College and the Department of English. Waltmar Theatre, 7 to 8:30 p.m. Free admission.