Readers’ Forum Feb. 27, 2018

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The BYU Women in Math club hung posters on campus advertising an event on Feb. 21. (Facebook)

Women in Math

A news flurry occurred over misunderstanding a poster. “Women in Math” is the name of our club, not the meeting’s discussion topic. The club’s purpose is to encourage female mathematicians to succeed in their chosen careers. Our faculty advisers, Emily Evans and Martha Kilpack, know how to make it in math despite the odds. The key to career success is research experience.

We invited male professors to our club who are published in top journals in diverse areas of math and, most importantly, have research positions open to undergraduates. Our club meeting focused on research opportunities in data science, topology, number theory and dynamic systems research.

The original tweet’s author, Stephanie Driggs, is not a math major and has not attended any of our meetings, at least until Feb. 22 when she was interviewed on television. She retweeted 14,000-plus people asking them to “send (the BYU Women in Math) emails! They need to know that this activity is doing more harm than good. #WeNeedFemaleRepresentation.”

We do need female representation, but from those who are actually math majors. We should talk about how female-to-male ratios in math professorships can improve, pay gap between men and women and societal factors that discourage women to pursue math.

Attacking an organization and institution that is trying to help us succeed as female mathematicians is wrong. Women in Math and the math department have been great resources for me; despite this storm, I hope they continue to be one for many other female math students here at BYU.

—Jane Cox
Provo, Utah

Allowance

Living in a world run on money, it is essential to have a firm understanding of how to manage it. The earlier you begin to master the techniques of money management, the better off you will be. But is receiving an allowance from our parents the right place to begin this journey of becoming our own money masters?

To raise financially literate children, parents should not give them an allowance, and there is a host of reasons why. The first comes from Lewis Mandell, Ph.D., who believes giving an allowance can do more harm than good. He stated, “Studies have shown that instead of encouraging good financial habits, giving an allowance is statistically associated with diminished financial literacy, lower levels of motivation and an aversion to work.”

While an allowance can have negative qualities, it isn’t to say this should be done away with completely. There are some pros to giving children an allowance, such as having the ability to manage their own money and learning through trial and error.

However, I believe children could still benefit from learning on their own, in this manner, but receiving the money from different sources. Children could help work for neighbors or do other out-of-the-ordinary chores for their parents for which they could be monetarily compensated.

In the end, the role allowance will play in your family is ultimately up to you. However, when deciding, keep in mind your choices will affect them and will either aid them to become financially successful or put them at a disadvantage.

—Jason Sherrill
Apple Valley, California

Minimum wage

Minimum wage has long been a divisive issue, with genius economists on both sides citing studies, shouting facts and slandering their opponents. Recently, the liberal side of the political fence has argued that the federally mandated minimum wage should be raised to $15 per hour, while their conservative counterparts cry loudly for minimum wage to stay put at $7.25, which was instituted in 2009.

This divisiveness leads to a lack of progress and cripples our nation; therefore, the two opposing sides must compromise. The current echo chambers filled with primal partisan screaming bring no profit to the American people, and frankly, scare the children.

No matter what your dad told you to think, the facts remain. There are over 700,000 workers employed full time at minimum wage, 70 percent of which are high school graduates, and something has to give. Studies from areas such as Seattle, which recently adopted a $15-per-hour minimum wage, show that a raise past $13 could have a net negative effect on the economy and would create a burden on society.

However, an initial raise to $12 will have no negative consequences but has the potential to improve the lives of many hardworking Americans. We have to find a way to work together to improve the society we live in for everyone — not just those that have their parents paying for school.

—Jordan Bothwell
Roswell, Georgia

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