The International Commission on Mathematical Instruction
Bulletin No. 47 
December 1999


The International Organization of Women and

Mathematics Education  (IOWME)


The International Organization of Women and Mathematics Education (IOWME) came into being as a result of a meeting arranged during the course of ICME-3 in Karlsruhe in 1976 to discuss the question of "Women and Mathematics".  IOWME was recognized as an study group affiliated to ICMI in 1987.

The purposes of the group, as described in the first report which appeared after affiliation to ICMI (cf. ICMI Bulletin No. 23 (December 1987), pp. 19-21), are:

  1. To bring together  those who are concerned with the subject of women and mathematics.
  2. To circulate among members any research already available concerning women and mathematics.
  3. To found branches in as many countries as necessary.
  4. To encourage further research into
    1. why so few women study mathematics, and
    2. what are the job possibilities for those who qualify.

Since its inception, IOWME has aimed to be a network that encourages communication between  people interested in links between mathematics and gender, equality and social justice.  The IOWME Newsletter is its main forum and works well to help those who want to keep in touch, to do so.  The Newsletter can be accessed electronically on the IOWME website


The officers of IOWME are the International Convenor and the Newsletter Editor, assisted by a small reference group, the IOWME Advisory Board, which acts in an advisory capacity.  The elected positions of Convenor and Newsletter Editor are filled at the meeting held at each ICME Congress.  

Attempts to adopt a formal constitution of IOWME have been unsuccessful (see the last quadrennial report of IOWME presented at ICME-8 and reproduced in the ICMI Bulletin No. 41 (December 1996), pp. 10-13).  

There are currently 38 National Coordinators of IOWME who take on responsibility for disseminating in their countries, both in the developed and developing world, information about activities of the group via the IOWME Newsletter.  Not all of the National Coordinators are equally energetic, but some countries have local IOWME scientific meetings.  Some National IOWME groups are even active to the extent of producing their own local Newsletter.  

The activities of IOWME are mainly focussed upon the sessions which are run by the group at each ICME Congress.  These have maintained a high standard, been enthusiastically received by those who have attended them, and have resulted in a number of publications.  Examples of recent publications from IOWME work are

Gender and Mathematics: An International Perspective
edited by Leone Burton, published by Cassell Education, 1990 (ISBN 0 304 32279  2)
Equity in Mathematics Education: Influences of Feminism and Culture
edited by Pat Rogers and Gabriele Kaiser, published by Falmer Press, 1995  (ISBN 0 7507 0500 4).
Gender and Mathematics Education
edited by Barbro Grevholm and Gila Hanna, published by Lund University Press, Lund, Sweden, 1995  (ISBN 91 7966 276 5)
Social Justice and Mathematics Education: Gender, Class, Ethnicity and the Politics of Schooling
edited by Christine Keitel and published  by the Freie Universität, Berlin, 1998  (ISBN 3-929 968-12-6)

(The third publication is the proceedings of the ICMI Study on Gender and Mathematics Education held in Hoor, Sweden, in 1993.)