Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Jerry McNerney (CA-09) introduced a bill that would make certain young women in the U.S. have more opportunities to pursue careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM), and help the nation compete in the global economy.
Rep. McNerney’s bill, entitled the Getting into Researching, Learning & Studying of STEM (GIRLS-STEM) Act of 2014, establishes a program at the Department of Education to ensure that more female students participate in, and have access to, STEM education and vocational counseling.
“I know from personal experience that STEM careers can be personally and professionally rewarding, and we owe it to our young women to make sure they have access to the necessary education,” said Congressman McNerney, who is a mathematician and wind energy engineer. “When women succeed, we all succeed. With more women in STEM jobs, we’ll help grow our economy and make sure we’re competitive with the rest of the world.”
The GIRLS-STEM program provides grants to local educational agencies that develop plans to encourage young women to study STEM, educate parents about STEM opportunities for their children, provide training and mentoring opportunities for students, and prepare secondary students for college STEM programs.
Data shows that there is a growing gap in STEM-related education achievements between men and women. While over half of all college degrees go to women in this country, they hold less than a quarter of STEM-related jobs.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, STEM-related occupations are expected to expand faster than any other fields over the next decade. STEM jobs also provide economic security: in 2011, the unemployment rate was 4.1 percent for those in STEM-related jobs, while the overall unemployment rate was 8.9 percent.
Stacey M. DelVecchio, the president of the Society of Women Engineers, said the organization is pleased to see the Getting into Researching, Learning & Studying of STEM (GIRLS-STEM) Act of 2014 come to fruition.
“The Society of Women Engineers is always happy to support initiatives introducing more girls into engineering,” DelVecchio said. “Diversity fuels innovation in engineering, so attracting and retaining more women engineers is crucial to remaining competitive in an increasing global economy.”
The following organizations also expressed their support and enthusiasm for Rep. McNerney’s GIRLS-STEM Act of 2014:
- The Association for Women in Science (AWIS)
- Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE)
- National Alliance for Partnerships for Equity (NAPE)
- National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium
- The New Hampshire STEM Collaborative
- The August F. Hawkins Foundation
- Wider Opportunities for Women (WOW)