In an effort to bolster opportunities for women in science and technology fields, on Feb. 28 President Donald Trump signed the INSPIRE Woman Act into law. Sponsored by Virginia’s 10th District Rep. Barbara Comstock (R), the resolution directs the administrator of NASA to “encourage women and girls to study science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, pursue careers in aerospace, and further advance the nation’s space science and exploration efforts”
“This legislation will provide young women the resources they need to lead the next generation in space exploration, medical research, engineering, technology and other STEM careers,” Comstock said in a prepared statement. “Young women will have the opportunity to connect online with career women at NASA and directly learn from mentors in the STEM fields to boost their own careers.”
The resolution directs NASA to submit a report to Congress in the next 90 days on a plan to organize, facilitate and support efforts for current and retired astronauts, scientists, engineers and innovators to engage with school-aged female STEM students and inspire the upcoming generation of women to consider participating in science related fields.
Comstock, the chair of the House’s Research And Technology Subcommittee for the Committee On Science, Space and Technology, had made the resolution a priority at the beginning of her second term. The bill received widespread bipartisan support, and following the passage in the Senate of a companion bill sponsored by Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV), Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) signed the bill on Feb. 27.
— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) February 27, 2017
Comstock attended the Feb. 28 signing ceremony at the White House alongside Vice President Mike Pence, First Lady Melania Trump and several other members of congress.
“Currently only one in four women who gets a STEM degree is working in a STEM job, which is not fair and it’s not even smart that people are not taking advantage of it,” Trump said. “It’s unacceptable that we have so many American women who have these degrees yet are not being employed in these industries. I think that’s going to change and it’s going to change very rapidly.”