Congressman Michael Waltz is making the call to incentivize and encourage more women to pursue careers in STEM.As a member of the Science, Space and Technology Committee, rep. Waltz took part in a hearing titled “Maintaining U.S. Leadership in Science and Technology” where he questioned why more women aren’t working in STEM fields. He also inquired how Congress can play a role in helping increase the number of women in STEM.
In terms of women joining STEM fields, Waltz noted that “we’ve made gains,” but he also voiced that they haven’t made enough gains.
In his statement, rep. Waltz explained that “incentivizing women to have interests and pursue careers in STEM is critical to fully utilizing our talent base and competing long-term.” Waltz added that “it’s not just about competitiveness, it’s not just a domestic issue, it’s an international issue – it’s a national security issue.”
Also, Waltz noted that his time as a “Green Beret, and operating all over the world, the bottom line is, where women thrive in business, in civil society, in politics, extremism doesn’t.”
Dr. Marcia McNutt, a geophysicist and the President of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States, weighed in on why women are not attracted to STEM fields. In her response, she explained that “there is this undercurrent of harassment for women that has gone underground. It used to be out in the open, it went underground.” She calls them “the little put-downs that were discouraging too many women” such as telling a woman “Wouldn’t you be happier doing this instead?” relating to something outside of STEM fields.Dr. McNutt details that “it happens in law, it happens in business, but it’s worse in science.”
In order to attract more women to STEM, Dr. McNutt asserts that “We just have to stop that.”