Grandstand. In 2022, two women will join Catherine MacGregor (Engie) at the head of a CAC 40 company. All three are engineers, two of them are polytechnicians. Christel Heydemann (Orange) and Estelle Brachlianoff (Veolia) are two women who have put math at the heart of their training.
This year, Ecole Polytechnique celebrates the 50th anniversary of the opening of its competition to women. For the first time this year, with the reform of the baccalaureate, some baccalaureate holders can begin their higher education without having taken any mathematics course in terminale. And it is unfortunately the choice of many young girls. We, polytechnicians, unite to promote mathematics among them.
There is beauty in mathematics. It’s fun to do. To understand the Earth and the Universe, to explore the Moon and Antarctica, math is essential. In art and music, there is math. To protect the planet and fight against global warming, the energy transition will be based on math. The rational spirit that accompanies mathematics serves all professions well beyond engineers and doctors. It is a bridge between the world of ideas and their realization. Young girls, with math, you will choose the profession that you like.
Through rigor and logic, math can defend against the influence of continuous information where scientific speech is regularly discredited. Knowing how to discern the truth of opinion has become essential in our society. Without mathematics, no census, no democracy. Girls, with math, you’ll figure out the world for yourselves.
Creativity and abstraction
Measuring yourself against mathematical reasoning means preparing yourself to construct a well-argued point of view. Let’s get out of the cliché of the solitary mathematician. Math invites creativity, is practiced in community, establishes professional networks.
In business, math develops the ability to convince through reasoning and allows the abstraction that is necessary to solve the general case – and not just the isolated case. Math allows the hierarchy of tasks using orders of magnitude or numerical verification of arguments. All of these qualities are expected by employers and policy makers. Girls, with math you can create.
According to teachers’ associations, in 2022, more than 50% of girls will drop out of mathematics after 2from. So many exciting careers that escape them and a lack of gender balance in whole sections of the company. Decision-makers in the public and private worlds, put mathematics back at the heart of education and training.
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