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.
This is a version of a paper first presented at the ICME7 theme group of the International Organisation on Women and Mathematics Education, Quebec, 1992. Its present content owes much to discussion with and comments from members of that network. In addition, I would particularly like to thank Mary Barnes, Leonie Daws, Stephen Lerman and the anonymous reviewers for challenging and provoking re-working of the ideas.
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