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Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

Promoting equitable treatment, championing diversity and developing an inclusive LSE

Statistics takes the numbers that you have and summarises them into fewer numbers which are easily digestible by the human brain

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) at LSE

LSE is committed to building a diverse, equitable and truly inclusive university. LSE believes that diversity is critical to maintaining excellence in all of our endeavours. We seek to enable all members of the School community to achieve their full potential in an environment characterised by equality of respect and opportunity.  

The School’s commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion is one of its six strategic priorities, as highlighted in the LSE Strategy 2020, and ‘equality of respect and opportunity’ is one of the core principles set out in the School’s Ethics Code. The EDI Office acts to promote and further LSE’s commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion for all members of the School community.

To provide some examples of our work:

• Athena SWAN is a national charter mark – run by the Equality Challenge Unit (ECU) – that recognises the advancement of gender equality in higher education: representation, progression and success for all. The School has been working towards an institutional bronze Athena SWAN award.

• In 2017, LSE will be convening a self-assessment team to work towards the ECU’sRace Equality Charter Mark.  The Race Equality Charter is focussed on improving the representation, progression and success of black and minority ethnic (BME) staff and students in Higher Education.

• LSE is a Stonewall diversity champion and is part of the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index.

• LSE has also worked closely with DisabledGo to develop online access guides to all the School’s buildings, and route maps around campus.

As part of our commitment to EDI, the Department of Statistics is a member of the LMS good practice scheme. Details of this scheme can be found here -https://www.lms.ac.uk/women/good-practice-scheme.  

Women in Statistics: Success stories 

Sandrine Foldvari

Since I was 11, I remember having been interested in mathematics, especially math puzzles. My math teacher at that time started to give us some fun math/logical puzzles to solve at home (like the three prisoners puzzle). If we got it right we could get some more.  I actually found mathematics really fun to start with. Then as I progressed in my studies, I found it comforting: maths are right or wrong when we learn it in high school and I had three amazing female math teachers that made me like it even more and made me feel comfortable and confident in learning mathematics.

When I started my undergraduate studies I had a primary focus in mathematics. I graduated from Essec Business School (where I majored the entrance exam thanks to a full top mark in mathematics) with a focus on financial mathematics, but I also followed in parallel a master's degree in applied mathematics at University Paris VI Jussieu in Paris.

I also graduated from ENSAE, one of the top French schools of applied mathematics in Paris. I then moved to London where I started a career in financial mathematics (Statistical Arbitrage) at Goldman Sachs while I also completed a Msc in Statistics and a PhD in financial mathematics at the London School of Economics.  The reason why I actually pursued a PhD was because I met with an inspiring professor that supported me all the way (a part time PhD while working full time was not always easy...). At that stage I simply found mathematics beautiful. For instance, I found that the way number theory can transport problems into other spaces to make them easier to solve was just almost magical! The versatile aspect of mathematics, the fact it can be applied to so many areas of our day to day life make it really appealing to me.

However, mathematics and in particular financial mathematics remains a very masculine area. If the ratio male/female was pretty even at the business school I attended, for my master we were only 8 girls out of 88 students. And again, at the statistical school I went to, the male/female ratio was pretty even, but girls preferred largely a major in Sociology or Economy and I was one of the only women majoring in Statistics.

Ever since I started to work in Finance I only had male managers and I still find it challenging to be a woman in such a men dominated world: at first men are often condescending and patronising and then when you prove you can stand up to them, some often consider (explicitly or implicitly) that when you speak up you are being aggressive or pushy or bossy, which is more rarely seen as a weakness than a strength when men are themselves concerned. I had the great chance to meet with a fantastic mentor early in my career who gave me the opportunity to become partner in a start-up hedge fund almost 4 years ago. I would not qualify my career path as exceptional or even particularly successful.

I am indebted to many great mentors (be them my family/ close friends/ teachers/ professors or professional mentors). However that is probably what differentiate most men and women in my area: women tend to acknowledge more openly the help and support they receive from others. And to me that is the case for all success story: hard work is compulsory but not sufficient: we all need mentoring and directions from others!

Mai Sherif Hafez

“But why Statistics ?!!”…this is a question I have been asked hundreds of times…almost every time I introduce myself and my background to anyone new. The answer has always been simple and has always been the same: “…because I love it!”

I have always been passionate about Statistics and I have really always enjoyed studying it...starting with my undergraduate studies at Cairo University where the class of Statistics never exceeded twenty students.

After I graduated, I decided to apply for an MSc in Statistics at LSE, and I was lucky enough to get admitted and to secure funding too. That was one of the best years of my life! I got it all…London, LSE, and Statistics! Spending a year away from my family and my home country (Egypt) seemed a bit scary at first, but soon I realised it was a real eye-opener to lots of experiences, a wide variety of new things and diverse friends and cultures. I will always be grateful for my loving family for encouraging me to make such a step.

By the end of that year, I relaised I haven’t had enough…not enough of London, not enough of LSE and definitely not enough of Statistics. So I applied for a Phd, but didn’t have funding at the time so I returned to Egypt. Three weeks later I met with my husband…a year later we got married! So after all, everything does happen for a reason!

One year later, I went back to London to start my PhD at LSE, this time with my husband who was super supportive and decided to leave his great job in Cairo to accompany me through my academic journey. Again London was so welcoming to both of us. We had the time of our lives…with its challenges, ups and downs…but we did enjoy every single day. It turned out that studying for a PhD is quite a challenge. It needs a lot of effort, patience, and support. But thanks to my amazing supervisor, colleagues, friends and staff at the Department of Statistics at LSE who made it a genuine life experience.

After three years of the course, I had my first baby girl (Amina). And it does not come as a surprise that a PhD with a baby is even much more challenging…Finally, I was granted my PhD in Summer 2015 with a cute two-year old baby as a by-product.

Back to Cairo University... I am now a lecturer at the Department of Statistics, where I first graduated, trying to transfer as much as I can of the amazing whole journey I’ve been through, expecting my second child and still facing the same question: “..but why Statistics?!”

Helen Chang

I love Mathematics and have been comfortable with numbers since I was a child.  I am most proud of my determination to do mental calculation whenever I can, I feel that there are some special connections between me and the numbers. My passion in Mathematics led me to do Double Mathematics, Computing Science and Physics for my A levels and I challenged myself with Special papers in Further Mathematics. I wanted Applied Mathematics for my degree and I read Actuarial Science at London School of Economics.

I had my best years at LSE – I enjoyed my studies and have made many life long friendships there. I was introduced to Investment Banking when I was at LSE. There are many areas within banking which require quite different skill sets. After a lot of research I was drawn to become a trader or a structurer due to my analytical abilities. I have been a financial engineer in Investment Banking for 16 years now and I still enjoy my work every day. Being a trader and manager is not just a science but my problem solving and logical mind helps me to dissect complicated matters and keep my feet on the ground.