Women have been a hot topic thus far in 2017. They have been an integral part of a traditionally patriarchal society and are plainly, fed up with receiving more disrespect than credit. From a movie about African-American women in the space program at NASA, to women’s rights marches in response to President Trump, women are making noise. In addition to recent happenings, this past month was National Women’s History Month. Even President Trump has gotten in on the feminine action by recently signing H.R. 255 and H.R. 321, policies that help encourage and support women in the STEM workforce.
On February 28th, at the signing of the bills, the president stated that currently, only one-in-four women who earn a STEM degree actually work in the STEM field. He also stated that off-shoring must be “cracked-down” on because it costs the United States brain-power.
H.R. 321 is a bill referred to as the INSPIRE Women Act (Inspiring the Next Space Pioneers, Innovators, Researchers and Explorers). The ultimate objective of H.R. 321 is to push the United States forward in space exploration and aerospace. This particular bill however, focuses on female involvement in pursuing such careers. NASA is now required to encourage K-12 female students to study STEM. It must facilitate the engagement of retired scientists, engineers, astronauts and innovators with young women through three programs sponsored by NASA: NASA GIRLS and NASA BOYS programs, NASA’s Summer Institute in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Research (SISTER) program, and the Aspire to Inspire program.
- The NASA GIRLS and NASA BOYS programs use virtual mentoring through video chat programs to give “young students the opportunity to interact and learn from real engineers, scientists, and technologists. Explore these programs at https://women.nasa.gov/nasagirls/.
- NASA’s SISTER program is a week-long program focused on giving middle school students the opportunity to explore nontraditional career fields with women in STEM at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. Learn more about this exciting summer program at https://www.nasa.gov/content/summer-institute-in-science-technology-engineering-and-research-sister-program.
- Aspire to Inspire aims to spark the interest of young students, particularly girls through short digital films featuring early career women at NASA. They try to connect with other groups that can use the content for STEM-related purposes and engage with audiences through social media. Find out more at https://women.nasa.gov/a2i/.
H.R. 255 is referred to as the Supporting Women in Entrepreneurship Act. Trump stated at the bill signing that this act “enables the National Science Foundation to support women inventors, researchers, and scientists in bringing their discoveries to the business world.” The foundation champions creating “new ways to improve people’s lives.”
It seems as though doors are opening, ladies! Hopefully, the signing of these bills is the beginning of the fruition of many women’s dreams. Continue to explore the world of STEM (i.e. STEMedia.org) to stay aware of happenings and spark your potential to create the next BIG thing!
This piece comes to us from one of our talented content contributors, Cynthia Sharpe. Her bio is below and if you would like to work with us you can email us here!
Cynthia M. Sharpe, is a May 2015 graduate of NC State University. Cynthia graduated with a B.A. in English with a concentration in creative writing and currently aspires to pursue an M.F.A. in Creative Writing. “As I let my own light shine, I unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.” -Cynthia M. Sharpe, inspired by Marianne Williamson