Worrying that they wouldn’t take a woman correspondent seriously, Germain pretended to be a Monsieur Leblanc and wrote to both Lagrange and Gauss, asking questions and forwarding mathematical proposals that favorably impressed them both. Her mind stood out even amongst her generation of mathematical geniuses, and when they eventually found out her secret, that she was a self-taught woman, their admiration only increased.
According to the latest PISA report, only one in 20 girls considers working in a scientific or technological field in the future, compared with one in five boys. It is not because they do not like science or because they do not do as well at it, not by any means. The problem, as Álvarez Caro insists, is that they are not given a chance to try it.
While some critics argue that gender-segregated math contests send a message that women aren’t capable of competing with men, others say such competitions can be a crucial pipeline for young girls hoping to pursue STEM careers. They offer an opportunity to gain recognition in the field while forming a network of female friends and mentors with similar interests.