M.I.T. Grad Discusses Gender in Academia

On Wednesday, the “Gioia De Cari in Truth Values: One Girl’s Romp Through M.I.T’s Male Math Maze” came to the Berrie Center. Those in attendance got to see a real treat as De Cari kept the audience engaged throughout the play. De Cari incorporated humor and knew how to get her point across during the entire play. The performance gave a look into her personal views on how unfairly women are treated when they enter the male dominated field of math, along with the many injustices that she faced at M.I.T. De Cari talked about many of her experiences, but the part that stuck out the most was her explanation about getting her doctoral degree in math from M.I.T.

De Cari was faced with many challenges that she should not have had to overcome. Someone with her level of education should not have been treated in the way that she was. She and other women were given the humiliating job of having to bring their professor cookies everyday before class.

During her graduate studies at M.I.T., De Cari was in search of a quality mentor. All of the people that she went to were male and thought that she should settle down, get married and have a child instead of continuing her degree in math. They saw that she was a female and they had the mindset that she had to become a mother instead of considering her dignified resume. When she was on the verge of quitting, she needed someone that was a female to talk to and it became very difficult to find someone that could give her the advice that she needed. After talking to two former female M.I.T. students, she realized that she was in the wrong field. In order to break out of this field, De Cari and her mentor had to fix a ten-year-old problem. Despite all of her struggles, she was able to graduate successfully.