Fields Announcements

June 28, 2016


Fields Institute Responds to Summers' Allegations on Women in Science

TORONTO, January 31, 2005 - Dr. Barbara L. Keyfitz, Director of The Fields Institute for Research in the Mathematical Sciences, and John Gardner, Chair of the Institute's Board of Directors, reiterated today the Institute's commitment to the advancement of women in the mathematical sciences and equal opportunity for all scholars, regardless of gender.

Commenting on recent discussion in the press concerning Harvard President Summers's comments on the suitability of women for advanced work in the mathematical sciences, Dr. Keyfitz and Mr. Gardner said: "In executing its mandate to advance ground-breaking research in the mathematical sciences and to provide Canadian universities, industry and public sectors with access to the world's leading academics and practitioners, The Fields Institute's experience testifies to the exceptional accomplishments of women at all levels of mathematical research. There is no reason to doubt the ability of women to achieve at the highest scientific levels and mathematical science is no different." Citing the participation of women professors, graduate students and industrial researchers in numerous Institute programs attracting the top international scholars and researchers on topics of pure, applied and industrial mathematics, Mr. Gardner added: "We need to examine even more of the assumptions that lie behind our evaluation of the potential of young people. To help young women, we need a better, deeper understanding of how women succeed. When successful women participate in our programs, as happens more and more, then everyone benefits by learning how varied are the faces of talent."

Dr. Keyfitz noted well-known institutional and cultural obstacles to the acceptance and promotion of women in many scientific environments and pointed to The Fields Institute's programs and policies aimed at mitigating and overcoming those obstacles. "We are vigilant to ensure that women scholars are afforded the same financial and teaching-release support to enable them to attend and present their research at our year-long thematic programs, our short courses, our summer schools and our other scholarly initiatives. Our program organizers do not overlook these scholars when designing their programs and engaging speakers. For too long, women have faced an uphill battle in gaining acceptance for their work and their accomplishments in the mathematical sciences. The Fields Institute does not countenance discrimination, overt or covert, of this kind."

The Fields Institute, located in Toronto, is recognized as one of the world's leading independent mathematical research institutions. With a wide array of pure, applied, industrial, financial and educational programs, The Fields Institute attracts over 1,000 visitors annually from every corner of the globe, to collaborate on leading-edge research programs in the mathematical sciences. The Field's Institute is funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, seven Principal Sponsoring Universities, six Affiliate Universities and several corporate sponsors. See

For more information, contact:  
Ms. Maryam Ali
Telephone: (416) 348-9710 x3024
The Fields Institute
222 College Street
Toronto, Ontario M5T 3J1