Press Room


March 8, 2013

International Year of Statistics honors contributions of women statisticians on International Women's Day

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) and the more than 1,775 organizations in 121 countries participating in the International Year of Statistics (Statistics2013) today join women and men around the world in the celebration of International Women's Day.

Observed each year on March 8, International Women's Day is a global day celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future. Statistics2013 is a worldwide initiative that is highlighting the contributions of the statistical sciences to finding solutions to global challenges. EIA is a Statistics2013 participating organization.

Like their counterparts in other professional fields, women pioneers in the statistical sciences have made outstanding and trailblazing contributions to their profession and have opened the field to more women.

The statistical sciences profession and the larger global society has greatly benefited from the groundbreaking contributions of women statisticians including Florence Nightingale, who used statistics to modernize health care; Dr. Janet Lane-Claypon, who made several important contributions to epidemiology by improving its use of statistics; and Janet Norwood, the first woman commissioner of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics who made major contributions to government statistics.

EIA salutes their achievements as well as those of EIA statisticians who recognize how statistics can help us better understand and improve our world. People like Eileen O’Brien, head of EIA’s Buildings Survey Statistics Team, who explains that “statistics help us generalize from a sky filled with dots of light to the idea of an expanding universe filled with galaxies.” And statisticians like Cha Chi Fan in EIA’s Office of Energy Statistics who says that “statistics is a science that empowers data to speak; communicating with statistics is an art.”

Today, the number of women among mathematicians and statisticians equals the number of men, says a U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey report. Further, women statisticians are influential in many countries—41 of the world’s 190 statistical offices were headed by women in 2010, says The World’s Women 2010: Trends and Statistics, a report commissioned by the United Nations. Lastly, women have earned more than 40% of math and statistics bachelor’s degrees throughout the past four decades.

In honor of women worldwide, today and through the weekend on its website ( Statistics 2013 features the International Women’s Day logo as well as several special articles and items that highlight the important contributions of women statisticians, including:

  • Blog posts written by members of the American Statistical Association’s Committee for Women in Statistics and the Caucus for Women in Statistics
  • A self-authored “Statistician Job of the Week” article by the Smithsonian Institution’s chief mathematical statistician, Dr. Lee-Ann Hayek
  • A “Statistic of the Day” focused on the influence of women worldwide
  • An insightful “Quote of the Day” from female trailblazing statistician Florence Nightingale
  • A “Statisticians in the News” article that profiles a prominent female statistician from Oregon State University
  • Links to profiles of several influential female statisticians from the past and present

The goals of Statistics2013 are to increase public understanding of the power and impact of statistics on all aspects of society and to nurture statistics as a profession among high-school and college students. Participants include national and international professional societies, universities, schools, businesses, government agencies and research institutes. These groups are educating millions of people about the contributions of the statistical sciences through seminars, workshops and outreach to the media.

The founding organizations of Statistics2013 are the American Statistical Association, Institute of Mathematical Statistics, International Biometric Society, International Statistical Institute (and the Bernoulli Society), and Royal Statistical Society.

The product described in this press release was prepared by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the statistical and analytical agency within the U.S. Department of Energy. By law, EIA's data, analysis, and forecasts are independent of approval by any other officer or employee of the United States Government. The views in the product and press release therefore should not be construed as representing those of the Department of Energy or other Federal agencies.

EIA Program Contact: Eileen O'Brien, 202-586-1185, eileen.o'

EIA Press Contact: Jonathan Cogan, 202-586-8719,