Women generally are afraid of math, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health. The challenge is more pronounced among women of color, a report by Ed.gov said.
To help young girls of color overcome their weakness in the subject, one mathematician is exploring new ways to inspire girls to learn math.
Brittany Rhodes created Black Girl MATHgic to teach young girls in 3rd grade-8th grade to fall in love with math and also help them overcome math anxiety. The Detroit-based entrepreneur majored in maths at Spelman College and has been teaching and tutoring the subject in the last 15 years.
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With her years of experience in teaching, she began to examine academic journals on girls and math anxiety. “When I first started my research, there were very few studies that were looking at the intersectionality of what a black girls experience was when met with mathematics,” Rhodes told Forbes. “I wanted to create something where a black girl could very clearly see herself as a learner and doer of math.”
Black Girl Mathgic is a monthly subscription box service designed to increase math confidence and decrease math anxiety in girls. Every month, subscribers get a box containing a math lesson, items to make learning tangible and fan, a profile of a Black female mathematician, and an affirmation to boost self-confidence.
“My box is entirely screen-free on purpose. You can get this box whether you do or don’t have no computer at home, which a lot of our lot of our children of colour do not have adequate and equitable access to technology. The only thing we put online is the answer key because we include a math activity for each month,” said Rhodes.
Rhodes adopted the subscription box model after her husband introduced her to a number of subscription services. “I noticed that there were not a lot of math boxes. There were a lot of science and coding boxes, but nobody was really talking about math. That presented an opportunity for me,” said Rhodes.
She officially launched Black Girl Mathgic in 2019. She has sold over 1,100 boxes to over 30 states in the U.S. and she is now processing orders to Canada. Also, Black Girl Mathgic has a partnership with various school districts and youth-serving organizations.
Rhodes recently secured a $5,000 equity-free grant from HBCUvc and PledgeLA, which she plans to invest in a business manager. She also won the HER IDEA Pitch Competition held at the 110th NAACP National Convention in Detroit.