10.17.17

Capito, Cortez Masto Introduce Legislation to Encourage Young Women to Pursue STEM Education

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) today announced introduction of the Code Like a Girl Act, bipartisan legislation that will create two National Science Foundation (NSF) grant programs to encourage young girls to pursue careers in computer science. A companion bill, H.R. 3316, was introduced by Representatives Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) and Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.) in the House of Representatives.
 
“The tech industry provides so many opportunities for students and workers to pursue great jobs and really play a role in shaping and driving our economy. Unfortunately, despite the progress made in recent years, girls and women remain seriously underrepresented in STEM classrooms and professions,” Senator Capito said. “The Code Like a Girl Act will help more young women see the opportunities available to them through computer science and other STEM fields, helping them realize at an early age their incredible potential and empowering them to follow their dreams.”
 
“It is important that all young girls understand and believe that they can excel in all fields of science, technology, and math. Exposure and encouragement at an early age can lead young girls to pursue future interests in computer science and programming and foster a desire for high level education and employment,” said Erica Propst, principal of Rosemont Elementary in Berkeley County.
 
“Currently, women are vastly underrepresented in technology. According to Pew Research, in 2016, women comprised only a quarter of America's tech workforce, and that needs to change because everyone benefits when girls are invited to have a seat at the keyboard,” said Megan Bullock, co-founder of MESH Design & Development in Charleston. “STEM education, and creativity in coding and computer science, is an opportunity for girls to not only learn how to code, but to learn how to take risks, solve problems, and build the confidence that combats what Girls Who Code founder Reshma Saujani calls the ‘bravery deficit’ through growth, vulnerability and resilience. The Code Like a Girl Act empowers young women to be the builders and leaders of our future by closing the gender gap and encouraging girls to bring their creativity and empathy into the fields of science and technology.”
 
The Code Like a Girl Act will:
 

  • Create two National Science Foundation (NSF) grant programs to encourage young girls (10 and younger) to pursue computer science.
    • A research grant to increase understanding of the factors that contribute to the willingness or unwillingness of young girls to participate in STEM activities.
    • A testing of scalable models grant to develop and evaluate interventions in pre-K and elementary school classrooms that seek to increase participation of young girls in computer science activities from the earliest ages.

 

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