Maloney, Rigell, and Fudge Introduce Bipartisan Advancing Girls in STEM Act

Jul 23, 2014
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Congressman Scott Rigell (R-VA), and Congresswoman Marcia L. Fudge (D-OH) introduced H.R. 5165, the Advancing Girls in STEM Act. This important bipartisan legislation would increase exposure and awareness of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) fields for elementary and middle school girls. Currently, 74 percent of all workers in STEM fields are male. Through a competitive grant program, this bill will encourage young girls to pursue an advanced education and career in STEM fields, while helping to address our nation’s STEM workforce inequities.

“I know from my own family’s experience that early education can have a big influence on a young girl’s career path,” said Congressman Scott Rigell, who noted that his youngest daughter majored in biochemistry and microbiology in college as a direct result of encouragement she received from one of her childhood teachers. “Encouraging young women to pursue careers in STEM is critical to advancing greater economic success for women and continuing America’s global leadership. But we have to provide opportunities to jumpstart girls’ interest in STEM fields at an early age.”

According to the Department of Commerce, women in STEM fields earn 33 percent more than those in non-STEM occupations. However, only 15 percent of the world’s scientists reside in the United States and only 5 percent of U.S. workers are employed in fields related to science and engineering.

“In order for America to remain competitive, we must do more to expose girls to the exciting opportunities that a STEM education and career affords,” said Congresswoman Fudge. “The Advancing Girls in STEM Act would give states the necessary resources to spark the interest of girls so that they take classes that can lead to career paths typically dominated by men, and commanding higher salaries. I look forward to the day young women enter high tech and STEM related fields at the same rate as young men.”

“Over the next ten years, the STEM fields are expected to grow by more than 8 million jobs, and if we don’t act quickly women could be left behind,” added Congresswoman Maloney. “Women make up half the current workforce, but they hold less than a quarter of STEM jobs. The more we can do to encourage young girls to be interested in these fields the better their chances of entering a STEM-related career. This bill is a great step toward engaging women and girls early in their education, and is an excellent complement to The Women and Minorities in STEM Booster Act of 2014 (H.R. 4833), which I introduced earlier this year.”

The Advancing Girls in STEM Act creates a competitive $20 million grant program through the Department of Education (DOE) for states that promote STEM education for young girls. States that apply through the DOE will be eligible to participate in the program based on four geographic locations, with two states from each region receiving $2.5 million grants. The DOE will have flexibility in determining the criteria for receiving the award and annually report to Congress identifying how the grant funds were used, and the number of students who participated in the programs carried out with the grant funds.

Funding for the Advancing Girls in STEM Act would be reallocated from the Office of Nuclear Warhead Protection, an office within the Department of Energy originally designed to help post-Soviet Union Russia secure its nuclear warheads from the Cold War Era. This funding was initiated in 1992 and has continued ever since. The removal of these funds from the Office of Nuclear Warhead Protection was supported in President Obama’s FY15 budget proposal due to Russia’s repeated refusal to cooperate.