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Where we're going ... (Hopes for the future)

Thus, as we celebrate and reflect on our 20th birthday, we clearly have a collective sense of optimism and well being. But lest anyone get the impression we are entering our twenty-first year in a mode of complacency, Jill Mesirov, with characteristic sense of mission and responsibility, outlines our ongoing agenda:

  • We must continue to find ways to identify talented young girls and encourage their interest in mathematics.
  • We must make sure that women are guided to the best graduate program for their needs and abilities. Women traditionally have been underrepresented in the top rank graduate programs; we should understand why that is true and help to correct it.
  • Those of us who are professionally active in research, industry, or education have an obligation to our young women colleagues:
    • to support them at the beginning of their research or teaching careers,
    • to bring them into the appropriate network and bring their work to the attention of the rest of the community, and
    • to find creative ways in which to help them through the difficulties of two-career relationships and childrearing.

And in good tradition, Carol Wood, next AWM President, is positioned for the ongoing challenge.

Carol Wood (1991-1993): Looking into the crystal ball

Carol writes of her vision and hopes for AWM during her upcoming term, mindful of difficult choices that will have to be made. ``I see this as a time when AWM has enormous opportunities to make a difference in the lives and careers of young women, and find this both frustrating and exhilarating. Frustrating, because there are too many things we could be doing, and we risk the danger of doing few of them well if we can't make judicious and difficult choices. Exhilarating, because AWM has, I feel, been accepted as the organization to which many groups now turn for leadership in matters involving the participation in mathematics of women, and because there is an awareness that women are needed for the future health of mathematics.''

With fitting metaphor, she continues, ``In a way, the demands on AWM remind me most of the microcosm of a woman's life, with her multiple roles, and with all the people whose demands, needs, and expectations make it both necessary and difficult to determine what matters and what doesn't.''

Nevertheless, undaunted by these multiple demands, Carol has expansive plans for the future. ``Something which I would like to achieve during my presidency,'' she writes, ``is the establishment of strong ties with existing organizations concerned with promoting and encouraging participation of women in mathematics in other parts of the world, and also to see AWM play the role of midwife in bringing such groups into being ... In some ways we would be playing a leadership role, but in many others we would be awed by the wisdom of our international counterparts.''

Summing up, Rhonda Hughes voices our shared sentiments: ``I think we are entering our twenty-first year more unified and stronger than ever before, with a unique opportunity to have influence on the next generation of mathematicians. What used to be our concerns alone are now the concerns of the entire community, and we can give leadership and vision to the effort to get young people interested in mathematics. After all, we have been thinking about how to do this for a long time ...''

next up previous
Next: Acknowledgments and appreciation Up: A Brief History of Previous: 2. The Second Decade

Copyright ©1991 American Mathematical Society. Reprinted with permission.
Brought to you by the Association for Women in Mathematics.