In order to receive FREE admission, you must register prior to the performance. To learn more about what will be happening at the event, visit the WSU web page.
All links are listed at the end of the article.
To understand what the play Truth Values: One Girl’s Romp Through M.I.T.’s Male Math Maze is really all about, a little background on its origins is needed. While studying mathematics at the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.), Gioia De Cari found herself to be one of few women in the male dominated STEM fields. STEM being short for science, technology, engineering and math. Cari became inspired to create this one-woman show after hearing sexist comments from Lawrence Summers of Harvard University. Summers explained that the reason for so few women working in the STEMs fields is due to innate gender differences. Those are some hard comments to take in when you’re a woman in a male dominated field.
What This One-Woman Show is all about
Truth Values: One Girl’s Romp Through M.I.T.’s Male Math Maze delivers an important message about sexism, gender inequality, and gender diversity. This one-woman performance is Cari’s attempt to inform audiences, using her own life experiences, of just how frustrating it can be for women working in the STEM fields. The play is performed entirely by Cari. All 30 characters in the play are, in fact, played by Cari herself. The stories Cari tells incorporate humor while delivering an important message about gender inequality.
Cari’s performance is spoken highly of and has obtained great success. So captivating and important is Cari’s message that it has sold out at more than 40 theaters across the U.S. and received numerous standing ovations from viewers. One of many awards, Cari’s performance in Truth Calues includes success at the New York International Fringe Festival where it won Best Solo show.
Women in STEM fields
Estimates of the number of women working in the STEM fields indicate that the assistant professor positions are made up, in the math field, of just 26.5 percent women. When it comes to the highly prestigious position of full professor, which includes tenure, women in the math and sciences make up approximately 9.7 percent. Although women have proven themselves intelligent and able enough to achieve full professorship, the fact that female professors are making, despite being in the same position and performing the exact same amount and level of work, 8 percent less than what a male brings in every year.
Every year, more and more of the Bachelors, Masters, and Ph.Ds are being awarded to women, making up half of all college-educated workers. Yet somehow, women continue to be underrepresented. Despite the growing number of college educated women, two of the fields in STEM, engineering and the sciences, consist of just 28 percent female workers.
Just how, then, can this gender gap in the STEM fields be resolved? Karen Purcell, a writer for the-scientist.com, said that, for women in working in the STEM fields, the ultimate goal of gaining full gender equality is still far away. In Purcell’s own words she states there is no legitimate excuse for anyone, male or female, to not be allowed to follow his or her passion, referring to the STEM fields. To remedy the gender inequality gap, Purcell proposes that if young girls and women receive guidance and support, females will start to flourish in the STEM fields. Support ideally coming from sources such as families, friends, classmates. The idea is that social support is vital for women to gain more ground in the STEM fields. In addition to Purcell’s recommendation that young girls receive guidance and support early on, Dr. Carter adds to the equation the importance of self-confidence in order for women to be successful in this male dominated field.
What Purcell has stated is true. Take the case of Dr. Emily Carter of Princeton University, a full professor in energy and the environment, as an example for the need to begin motivating females from an early age to go into any one of the STEM fields. When Dr. Carter expressed interest as a young girl in her skill and passion for math, discouragement to pursue her interests followed. Many people informed Dr. Carter science was not for girls…[and] especially if a young lady wished to be considered attractive. Dr. Carter contributes her success in STEMs to the encouragement from her family and friends.
Dr. Carter cites confidence as vital for women surviving in STEMs. When Dr. Carter was told by a male co-worker during a conference that she’d only attained the position because she was a woman, she became heartbroken by these words, but refused to let this man’s words damage her success, thanks to her self-confidence. After the incident, Dr. Carter pondered what might have happened “if I hadn’t been [confident]?” Self-confidence, determination, and support from an early age have been identified by two women as necessary for women to have and obtain if they want to be successful in the male dominated STEM fields.
Support ideally comes from sources such as families, friends, classmates, etc. Social support is vital for women to gain more ground in the STEM fields. In addition to Purcell’s recommendation that young girls receive guidance and support early on, Dr. Carter adds to the equation the importance of self-confidence in order for women to be successful in this male dominated field. Dr. Carter’s success is due to her self-confidence in the face of opposition in the STEM fields from coworkers. It took the support and guidance of friends and family to encourage Dr. Carter to keep striving for her career in the face of harsh opposition.
To register to gain free admission follow this link:www.advance.wsu.edu
Link to WSU web page on the event: https://news.wsu.edu/announcement/award-winning-play-truth-values-one-girls-romp-through-m-i-t-s-male-math-maze-at-wsu-on-april-16/