Educational Studies in Mathematics

, Volume 28, Issue 3, pp 275–291 | Cite as

Moving towards a feminist epistemology of mathematics

  • Leone Burton


There is, now, an extensive critical literature on gender and the nature of science three aspects of which, philosophy, pedagogy and epistemology, seem to be pertinent to a discussion of gender and mathematics. Although untangling the inter-relationships between these three is no simple matter, they make effective starting points in order to ask similar questions of mathematics to those asked by our colleagues in science. In the process of asking such questions, a major difference between the empirical approach of the sciences, and the analytic nature of mathematics, is exposed and leads towards the definition of a new epistemological position in mathematics.


Empirical Approach Similar Question Critical Literature Simple Matter Epistemological Position 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Bloor, D.: 1976, 1991,Knowledge and Social Imagery, 2nd ed., University of Chicago Press, London.Google Scholar
  2. Boaler, J.: 1993, ‘Encouraging the transfer of ‘school’ mathematics to the ‘real world’ through the integration of process and content, context and culture’,Educational Studies in Mathematics,25(4), 341–373.Google Scholar
  3. Bruner, J.: 1994,The Humanly and Interpretively Possible, Plenary address given to the AERA Annual Meeting, New Orleans, U.S.A.Google Scholar
  4. Burton, L.(ed.): 1990a,Gender and Mathematics: An International Perspective, Cassell, London.Google Scholar
  5. Burton, L.: 1990b, ‘Passing through the mathematical critical filter — implications for students, courses and institutions’,Journal of Access Studies 5(1), 5–17.Google Scholar
  6. Burton, L. (ed.): 1986,Girls into maths can go, Cassell, London.Google Scholar
  7. Carson, R.: 1962,Silent Spring, Fawcett Press, New York.Google Scholar
  8. Confrey, J.: 1990, ‘What Constructivism Implies for Teaching’, R.B. Davis, C.A. Maher and Nel Noddings (eds.,) Constructivist View on the Teaching and Learning of Mathematics,Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, Monograph No. 4, NCTM, Reston, VA.Google Scholar
  9. Damarin, S.: 1991, ‘Rethinking Science and Mathematics Curriculum and Instruction: Feminist Perspectives in the Computer Era’,Journal of Education 173 (1), 107–123.Google Scholar
  10. Davis, P. and R. Hersh: 1983,The Mathematical Experience. Penguin, Harmondsworth.Google Scholar
  11. Davis, R.B., C.A. Maher and N. Noddings (eds.): 1990, Constructivist Views on the Teaching and Learning of Mathematics,Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, Monograph No. 4, NCTM, Reston, VA.Google Scholar
  12. Department of Education and Science, 1989,Mathematics in the National Curriculum, HMSO, London.Google Scholar
  13. Easlea, B.: 1983,Fathering the unthinkable: Masculinity, scientists and the nuclear arms race, Pluto Press, London.Google Scholar
  14. Ernest, P.: 1991,The Philosophy of Mathematics Education, Falmer Press, Basingstoke.Google Scholar
  15. Fee, E.: 1981, ‘A feminist critique of scientific objectivity’,Science for the People 14, 30–3.Google Scholar
  16. Fennema, E. and G. Leder (eds.): 1990,Mathematics and Gender, Teachers College Press, New York.Google Scholar
  17. Flato, M.: 1992,The Power of Mathematics, McGraw-Hill, London.Google Scholar
  18. Forgasz, H.: 1994,Society and Gender Equity in Mathematics Education, Deakin University Press, Geelong, Vic.Google Scholar
  19. Fossey, D.: 1983,Gorillas in the Mist, Houghton Mifflin, Boston.Google Scholar
  20. Gadamer, H.-G.: 1975,Truth and Method, Continuum., New York.Google Scholar
  21. Goodall, J.: 1971,In the Shadow of Man, Houghton Mifflin, Boston.Google Scholar
  22. Gopen, G.D. and D.A. Smith: 1990, ‘What's an Assignment Like You Doing in a Course Like This? Writing to Learn Mathematics’,The College Mathematics Journal 21(1), 2–19.Google Scholar
  23. Hadamard, J.: 1945,The psychology of invention in the mathematical field, Princeton University Press, Princeton.Google Scholar
  24. Harding, S.: 1986,The science question in feminism, Open University Press, Milton Keynes.Google Scholar
  25. Harding, S.: 1991,Whose Science? Whose Knowledge? Open University Press, Milton Keynes.Google Scholar
  26. Hekman, S.: 1990,Gender and Knowledge — Elements of a Postmodern Feminism, North-eastern University Press, Boston.Google Scholar
  27. Hirst, P.H.: 1974,Knowledge and the Curriculum, Routledge & Kegan Paul, London.Google Scholar
  28. Hirst, P.H.: 1965, ‘Liberal Education and the Nature of Knowledge’, R.D. Archambault (ed.),Philosophical Analysis and Education, Routledge and Kegan Paul, London.Google Scholar
  29. Hrdy, S.B.: 1986, ‘Empathy, polyandry, and the myth of the coy female’, R. Bleier (ed.),Feminist approaches to science, Pergamon Press, Oxford.Google Scholar
  30. Hull, R.: 1985,The Language Gap, Methuen, London.Google Scholar
  31. Joseph, G.G.: 1993, ‘A Rationale for a Multicultural approach to Mathematics’, D. Nelson, G.G. Joseph and J. Williams (eds.)Multicultural Mathematics, Oxford University Press, Oxford.Google Scholar
  32. Joseph, G.G.: 1991,The Crest of the Peacock, Tauris & Co., London.Google Scholar
  33. Keller, E.F.: 1985,Reflections on gender and science, Yale University Press, New Haven, CT.Google Scholar
  34. Keller, E.F.: 1983,A feeling for the organism: The life and work of Barbara McClintock, W.H. Freeman, New York.Google Scholar
  35. Kelly, A. (ed.): 1987,Science for Girls?, Open University Press, Milton Keynes.Google Scholar
  36. Kelly, A.V.: 1986,Knowledge and Curriculum Planning, Harper and Row, London.Google Scholar
  37. Lakatos, I.: 1976,Proofs and Refutations, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  38. Lakatos, I.: 1983,Mathematics, Science and Epistemology, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  39. Leder, G. and Sampson, S.N. (eds.): 1989,Educating Girls, Allen & Unwin, Sydney.Google Scholar
  40. Mulkay, M.: 1981, ‘Preface’, in A. Brannigan,The Social Basis of Scientific Discoveries, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  41. Needham, J.: 1959,Science and Civilisation in China, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  42. Nelson, D., G.G. Joseph and J. Williams: 1993,Multicultural Mathematics, Oxford University Press, Oxford.Google Scholar
  43. Nickson, M.: 1992, ‘Towards a Multi-cultural Mathematics Curriculum’, M. Nickson and S. Lerman (eds.)The Social Context of Mathematics Education: Theory and Practice, South Bank Press, London.Google Scholar
  44. Penrose, R.: 1990,The Emperor's New Mind, Vintage, London.Google Scholar
  45. Polanyi, M. and H. Prosch: 1975,Meaning, University of Chicago Press, London.Google Scholar
  46. Restivo, S.: 1992,Mathematics in Society and History, Kluwer, Dordrecht.Google Scholar
  47. Rose, H.: 1986, ‘Beyond Masculinist Realities: A feminist epistomology for the sciences’, R. Bleier (ed.),Feminist Approaches to Sciences, Pergamon, Oxford.Google Scholar
  48. Rose, H. and S. Rose: 1980, ţThe myth of the neutrality of science’, R. Arditti, P. Brennan and S. Cavrak (eds.),Science and Liberation, South End Press, Boston.Google Scholar
  49. Rosser, S.V.: 1990,Female-Friendly Science, Pergamon, New York.Google Scholar
  50. Stobart, G. Elwood, J. and Quinlan, M.: 1992, ‘Gender Bias in Examinations: how equal are the opportunities?’,British Educational Research Journal 18(3), 261–276.Google Scholar
  51. Thomn, R.: 1973, ‘Modern Mathematics: does it exist?’, A.G. Howson (ed.),Developments in Mathematics Education, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  52. Thomas, K.: 1990,Gender and Subject in Higher Education, SRHE & Open University Press, Buckingham.Google Scholar
  53. van Sertima, I. (ed.): 1986,Blacks in Science: Ancient and Modern, Transaction, New Brunswick, N.J.Google Scholar
  54. von Glasersfeld, E.: 1990, ‘An Exposition of Constructivism: Why Some Like It Radical’, R.B. Davis, C.A. Maher and N. Noddings (eds.) ‘Constructivist Views on the Teaching and Learning of Mathematics’,Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, Monograph N. 4, NCTM, Reston, Va.Google Scholar
  55. Whyte, J. et al. (eds.): 1985,Girl Friendly Schooling, Methuen, London.Google Scholar
  56. Zaslavsky, C.: 1973,Africa Counts, Lawrence Hill Books, New York.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Leone Burton
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Education, EdgbastonThe University of BirminghamBirminghamUK

Personalised recommendations