Senators Throw Bipartisan Women Into STEM Caucus

Sense. Jacky’s RosesJacklyn (Jacky) Sheryl Rosen Senators Seek to Permanently Expand Telehealth Eligibility Progressives Reject Decision to Reduce Biden’s Paid Family Leave Program Nevada Becomes an Early Senate Battleground MORE (D-Nev.) And Shelley Moore CapitoShelley Wellons Moore CapitoGillibrand Plans To Invite Meghan To DC To Speak About Paid Leave Meghan Markle Personally Called Republican Senators To Push For Paid Leave – Report Biden Must Show How He Is Hitting His Greenhouse Gas Target MORE (RW.Va.) are launching a bipartisan Women in STEM group focused on creating more access and pathways for women and girls to participate in science, technology, engineering and math careers.

The caucus will provide a platform for legislators and industry leaders to discuss solutions to address the lack of diversity in STEM, the senators said.

“We have to change the narrative for girls, and maybe even educators, because we want them to make sure that girls see themselves doing these jobs and these jobs feel accessible,” Rosen told The Hill.

For Rosen, the problem is personal. She came to the Senate with a background in computer programming, and while she said the gender gap has narrowed since she started working in the industry in the 1980s, progress hasn’t gone far enough.

According to the US Census, in 2019 women made up half of the workforce, but only made up 27 percent of workers in STEM fields.

The divide is still most evident in the computer science and engineering occupations, which made up 80 percent of the STEM workforce. Women made up only about a quarter of computer workers and 15 percent of those in engineering occupations, according to the census report.

“I think a lot of people believe that the kind of gender problem is solved, because we have taken incredible steps,” he said. Kathryn Leonard, president of the Association for Women in Mathematics.

“We have made great strides, but we definitely have a long way to go. And particularly with the challenges facing the world right now, many of them require us to have the strongest STEM solutions we can, and to get the ones we really need, strengthen diversity in STEM fields. We need all the voices and sources of creativity to expand the economy and stimulate innovation. And frankly, to make sure that we continue to be the leader that we have been in science and technology. ” Leonard added.

Karen Horting, CEO and CEO of the Society of Women Engineers, said it is a “crucial time” for senators to focus on the lack of diversity in STEM.

“COVID has only made the situation worse for women, even in STEM fields where there is a high demand. And the numbers of women of color are also very low. So overall, I think there is a lot of work that we can do in terms of strengthening diversity in STEM fields. You know, this is where the jobs are, ”Horting said.

The caucus will prioritize discussion of ways to help women returning to the workforce, both those with experience in STEM fields and those interested in changing jobs.

“I think this is a really good time to highlight, as people start new careers or have to embark on new careers, the kinds of opportunities that exist in STEM. We are trying to face this moment right now, that we are changing the narrative and moving forward, ”said Rosen.

Earlier this year, Rosen, along with Senators Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) And Mark KellyMark KellyTrump To Attend Fundraiser For Arizona Republican Senate Candidate ‘An Earthquake’ – GOP Rockets After Democrats Slammed McConnell Tuesday Over Possible Payments To Separated Migrant Families MORE (D-Ariz.), Introduced a bill intended to provide funding for STEM companies to offer internships, known as “internships,” for mid-career workers seeking to return or transition to the STEM workforce.

Capito said it’s important to focus on closing the gender gap in STEM fields across the country, especially since jobs in the field tend to pay more.

For example, the median salary in your home state of West Virginia is around $ 40,000, but the median salary for a STEM worker leaving school can be around $ 75,000.

“I think this is the perfect time to do this. I think especially since we’ve seen women leave the workforce trying to get back into the workforce and their careers, they will be able to raise their families, ”Capito said.

Lawmakers plan to invite additional senators to join after the caucus launch on Monday. Both Rosen and Capito said they expect broad bipartisan support for caucus efforts and for discussing solutions to bring diversity to STEM careers.

“This is something that everyone agrees on. We know that the challenges, the problems that we will have to solve for the rest of this century, require a STEM education, ”said Rosen. “And if we don’t invest from the lowest grades down, even pre-K and up, then we won’t be ready to be competitive.”

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