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HNR 301: Innumeracy

Ants PodcastInsomniac Arsonists
00:00 / 03:40

Innumeracy Reflection

Math literacy is something forgotten to talk about with U.S. adults. The main point of discussion is usually what math classes the individual did not like in highschool. The world is full of many issues and blockades created by math or the understanding of numbers that prohibit people from making the best use of a situation or not understanding what a statistic is saying at all. Throughout this course I have learned that there are a few steps that I need to take in my life revolving around innumeracy. The steps that I will be taking include being more aware of the role of women in my career and fighting to ensure they are not noticed, the importance of statistics in my everyday life, and how percentages impact my daily life. 

One of the things that I have learned this semester is the systematic disregard for women when it comes to statistics and crises through the book Invisible Women by Caroline Criado Perez. For me to view myself having a successful life, I realized that something I feel strongly towards is equality and fighting the inequalities that exist in theater as a whole. Invisible Women helped open my eyes to how many different ways that gender inequality has an impact on women, and I do not want to add to that inequality but instead I want to understand the statistics involved in the book to help me accurately fight against systemic gender inequality. I will do this by overall being more conscious about the inclusion of women and non-binary people as well as looking at the statistics and fighting against people who don’t think there is a gender inequality. The numbers discussed in the book such as when there are housing crises and medical difficulties as well as unpaid labor are all factors that play into the importance of number literacy when it comes to fighting for gender equality. By having the actual statistics and knowing that numerically there is a clear difference between how men are treated versus women is important when it comes to validity of statements, and people in general have a difficult time arguing against statistics overall. The connection between gender inequality and numerical literacy is a clear push to help me know how to have a more equality filled future.

People tend to accept statistics and graphs as they are seen in the media and not necessarily question the validity of the statements being made using those statistics or graphs. In order for me to have a more clear understanding of how something may affect me or the actual importance of an issue when presented with graphs or statistics, I have to be more conscious to not just accept data when handed to me. By being more conscious about what statistics are being presented to me I should be more genuinely informed on what is actually happening in the world. Without the understanding of statistics I may fall into bias traps where graphs have been manipulated to reach a certain agenda. Without the understanding of how statistics and graphs can be manipulated, I am more likely to spread false information or align my thoughts with something that is not a hundred percent the truth. Having numerical literacy is important to understanding statistics to ensure one knows what the statistics are actually representing.

Percentages are present throughout my entire life, from calculating tips to understanding deals in stores. I see myself becoming more aware of the percentages and what they actually are showing, or what needs to be calculated on a more day to day basis. I need to be able to calculate a twenty percent tip on a $20 meal to help ensure that the wait staff is paid appropriately. Also, I need to be able to look at a twenty percent off sign and know how much money the item will cost, as well as how much total, in dollars, the item is on sale to better understand how much money I will be saving and spending. Being more aware of when something says, “your chances have increased by 50%” means that if the likelihood of an event happening is let’s say 4% then your chances would become 6% not 54% which will help me better understand what the probability of risk that I am taking with different activity. Without the understanding of how percentages work I am at great risk of not being able to save the money I need and there are some larger societal impacts.

As previously stated, percentages are everywhere in the contemporary world. When people see them and do not understand how they work it can lead to a decline in money. People may not realize how much money they will actually be spending due to them not being sure of how much an item is due to the percentage being worded weirdly, or just individuals not knowing how to do the correct calculations when it comes to percentages and discounts. The other major societal impact is when discussing an increase in percentages when it comes to likelihood of developing an illness or injury being caused. If the media was to say that the likelihood of a new driver driving with 2 or more friends increases the chance of getting into a car accident by 300%, people may view that as meaning there is a 300% chance of being a car accident when in reality your chances may have risen from 4% to 12%. This is not a big gap in understanding but the differences in understanding how percentages actually work is imperative to stopping hysteria from occurring.

The decision I am making to be more conscious of gender inequality, statistics, and percentages is key to me being successful in life. The clear societal impact of not having high numerical literacy becomes more clear when one realizes how often numbers are used in everyday life. Also how organizations may use the general population’s innumeracy to their advantage and why people need to become more numerically literate.

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