Feminist Theories Informing Mathematical Practice

  • Linda McGuireEmail author
Living reference work entry


This chapter will examine how key themes and questions from feminist theory can inform and enhance a deeper understanding of mathematics and its practices. A critical examination of ideas sourced in Women and Gender Studies reveals sites of connection between the human history of mathematical thinking and well-known frameworks from feminist theory created to provide structures for analyzing complicated social issues. How can these interdisciplinary intersections be explored and understood? Can they help provide the support needed to codify initiatives related to diversity, equity, and inclusion in STEM disciplines, in general, and mathematics, in particular?

The opening section serves to provide background and context for this line of inquiry, especially as linked to continuing efforts by educational institutions to pose and address questions of inclusion within the discipline of mathematics, specifically, and STEM, more broadly. Subsequent portions of the chapter will identify, survey, and discuss specific connections between feminist theory and the study of mathematics. These explorations suggest ways to consider the climate in which mathematics is done and its relation to identity, authority, power, and the body in society.

Themes considered include, but are not limited to, the implications and ramifications of gender essentialism, the influence of science and technology studies, how power moves through academic structures, how gender influences the identification and prioritization of “truths,” and representation and performance as modes for analyzing history and practice.


Feminist theory Pedagogy Gender Inclusion Situated knowledge Science/technology studies 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Mathematics and Computer ScienceMuhlenberg CollegeAllentownUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Ken Valente
    • 1
  1. 1.Colgate UniversityHamiltonUSA

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