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SSA Vic & Tas Belz Lecture: Mathematics, Gender and Statistics

  • 17 Oct 2023
  • 5:45 PM - 7:15 PM (AEDT)
  • Lecture Theatre 3, FBE building (105), 111 Barry Street, Carlton 3053 OR online via Zoom


Registration is closed

Join us for the SSA Vic & Tas branch's annual Belz Lecture, where we'll hear from Professor Inge Koch in her talk titled "Mathematics, Gender and Statistics". Following the talk in-person attendees are invited to join us for dinner to be held at University House The Woodward - tickets available here!


Can girls and boys learn mathematics equally well? Can women be great mathematicians?

To increase our understanding of the relationship between mathematics and gender, we consider surveys of about 8000 Year 5-9 school students that teachers of AMSI’s ChooseMaths program conducted from 2016 to 2019 in 120 schools across Australia.  The surveys’ aims consisted in examining attitudes of students to mathematics across the genders and school years, and in evaluating the effectiveness of well-designed treatment regarding students’ change of attitude to mathematics with a particular focus on confidence building.  We describe the statistical analyses which range from simply summaries to multivariate analysis.  The findings are encouraging and show that attitudes to mathematics and confidence in one’s mathematical ability can improve with the right treatment. Although girls start at a lower confidence level in their Year 5, their gains are larger than those of boys.  The analyses further highlight that the changes in confidence and attitude due to treatment are much larger than the differences between the genders.

Speaker biography

Professor Inge Koch is a Statistician with research interests in the analysis of high-dimensional and functional data, ranging from new methodology to cross-disciplinary collaborations including biologists and medical experts.  She has a strong background in pure and applied mathematics and experience in industry and the CSIRO. Since the completion of her PhD in statistics at the Australian National University, she first taught statistics at the University of Newcastle and the University of New South Wales. In 2009 she became Associate Professor in Statistics at the University of Adelaide, and, in 2019, she was appointed as Professor of Statistics and Data Science at UWA.  Inge joined RMIT as Associate Dean, Mathematical Sciences, in February 2023.

Throughout her career, Inge has been a champion for mathematics and gender diversity in mathematics, passionate about encouraging young women to study mathematics at all levels and to follow careers that use maths skills. She is a co-founder of UNSW’s Girls Do The Maths, a program that began in 2004 and still flourishes today. She brought the same commitment to diversity to the University of Adelaide through her involvement with the Women in Mathematics Workshops. In 2015, she was appointed Executive Director of the Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute (AMSI) and of their ChooseMaths program which aimed at changing public perception of mathematics and improve participation, particularly of girls and women, in mathematics across Australia.  At UWA she combined this interest with developing statistical data science at all levels ranging from a new first year course in data science to research forums involving academics and HDR students from all faculties. She has been part of the National Review panel for Data Science, jointly organised by AMSI and the SSA, and is a member of the AMSI board.


5:45pm - Welcome to Country

6:00pm - Introduction

6:10pm - Talk starts

7:00pm - Q&A

7:15pm - Event ends, dinner to follow for those with tickets

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