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Double Celebration For World Statistics Day

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

New Zealand is recognising another world first as we celebrate the first United Nations mandated World Statistics Day, Minister for Women's Affairs Pansy Wong says.

"New Zealand led the world way back in 1993 by having the first statistics curriculum for school children at all levels, from new entrants through to the end of secondary schooling,'' Mrs Wong says.

"This is probably why we have 16,000 students studying Mathematics with Statistics in New Zealand schools this year."

"There is also cause for celebration because women are doing so well in the profession and getting more women into leadership roles is a priority for this Government.''

Speaking at the Women in Statistics conference at Victoria University she congratulated women for their success as statisticians, a profession in which they headed university departments and held other high positions.

She says it was just 20 years ago back in 1990 in Otago University at the third International Conference on Teaching Statistics, that the first session on gender issues in statistics education was run by Helen Wily and Sharleen Forbes.

"Women in Statistics have never looked back since then. There is evidence that girls prefer statistics to other forms of mathematics. In July this year just under 40% of the Mathematics with Calculus students were female while almost 50% of the Mathematics with Statistics students were.'"

"It appears that women are attracted by the real-world nature of statistics. That should not surprise us. Women are practical."

In 2008, of domestic students at New Zealand universities graduating in the mathematical sciences 56% of those with level 3 or 4 certificates or diplomas were women, 49% of bachelors degrees were women, 44% of graduate diplomas and honours were women and 50% of Masters and higher degrees were women.

Mrs Wong says of the seven Deputy Government Statisticians within our national statistics office, Statistics New Zealand, three are women and, within the professional association for statisticians, the New Zealand Statistical Association, there have already been 3 women Presidents.

The fact that a third of current New Zealand members and half of student members are female which is another indicator of change.

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