Marie Francoise Ouedraogo

Country of birth: 
Burkina Faso
Country of studies: 
Burkina Faso
Country of residence: 
Burkina Faso

See also  Women Mathematicians around the World, a Gallery of Portraits

From  EWM Newsletter no. 19 (2011/2)

Marie-Françoise Ouedraogo is Maître de Conférences at the department of Mathematics of University of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. She was born in December 1967 and grew up in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. She studied at the University of Ouagadougou, where she did her first thesis (“Doctorat de 3ème cycle) on Lie Superalgebras in 1999.

Marie-Francoise also did a PhD thesis at Blaise Pascal University of Clermont-Ferrand in France on pseudodifferential operators, in 2009. Since 2009, she is the president of the African Mathe-matical Union Commission on Women in Mathematics in Africa. She is the first president of African Women in Mathematics Association since 2013.

EWM: When and why did you decide to follow a career in Mathematics?

MFO: I decided to have a career in mathematics after my master thesis. Since primary and secondary school, I have been very interested in mathematics and I had good marks without too much effort. So, it was natural for me to continue with a thesis and stay in the area of mathematics.

EWM: What could you tell us about this association? Are there many women professors in Africa?

MFO: Of course, as you should expect, there are not many women professors in Africa. The African Mathematical Union Commission on Women in Mathematics in Africa, which is a commission of the African Mathematical Union, founded in 1986, is intended to correct and improve this weakness. Therefore, the AMUCWMA aims at:

- generating activities and programs meant to encourage women to study and make careers in Mathematical Sciences.

- mobilizing young girls all over the continent to show more interest in  Mathematics.

- preparing and updating a directory of Women in Mathematics from all over the continent.

- commissioning studies on various topics on Women in Mathematics in Africa.

- co-operating with other organizations with similar objectives.

As President of the AMUCWMA, I was invited to the last congress of European Women in Mathematics in Barcelona. After several discussions with Prof. Marie-Francoise Roy, the convenor of EWM, we decided to organize a workshop for African women mathematicians. This workshop is tentatively scheduled for October 2012 in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. It will be co-organized by AMU and the International Center of Pure and Applied Mathematics (ICPAM). The aim of ICPAM is to try to interest girls and African women mathematicians in ICPAM-schools organized in particular in Africa. The objective of the AMU through AMUCWMA is to organize scientific activities for African women mathematicians. We hope that this workshop will be the first of a series of activities organized to promote mathematics and African women mathematicians.

EWM: Are there many African women who study abroad and return to the continent?

MFO: Honestly, I don't know the exact situation because of lack of precise data. In my own case, I have defended a doctoral thesis here in Burkina Faso. Then, with financial support from the “Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie”, I have defended another thesis at Blaise Pascal University of Clermont-Ferrand in France. Finally, it was quite natural for me to return back home to teach at University of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. Probably, many other African women have followed the same course.

EWM: The academic connections between Africa and France are well known. What can you say about connections with other countries or continents?

MFO: There are similar connections, both south-north and south-south. Some research groups here have collaboration with other groups, mostly in the USA, Germany, Belgium and Canada. I have to note that collaborations with other West African universities are very common and more advanced.