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The U.S. Senate launched a new caucus focused on helping women advance in STEM education and careers. West Virginia’s Sen. Shelley Moore Capito is one of the lawmakers spearheading the effort.
The bipartisan caucus was started by Capito, a Republican, and Sen. Jacky Rosen of Nevada, a Democrat. The two women announced its launch on Monday, which was also National STEM Day. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and math.
Capito said the caucus will focus on providing a forum for discussion and legislative collaboration about ways to expand access for women in these fields.
“STEM fields are where the in-demand jobs are right now, and it’s where they will be in the future. These are jobs in industries that are critical to our economy, and will help our states and country as a whole grow,” Capito said. “However, as a former educator and college advisor, I have seen firsthand how young women often do not consider STEM education for career paths … Inspiring our young women to rise up and reach their potential is so important, and I’m excited to be a part of this partnership that will help continue the momentum we’ve started.”
According to the U.S. Census, women are still underrepresented in the STEM workforce, holding less than one-third of all jobs in the field.
“I know the career opportunities that are available with STEM education, and I’m committed to helping more women, particularly women of color, enter and succeed in these exciting fields,” said Rosen. “This bipartisan caucus will bring together diverse voices to develop and promote policies and programs that support women and girls in STEM. We will also raise awareness on how women’s underrepresentation in STEM classes and jobs limits the United States from achieving our full economic potential and fully addressing some of the most pressing challenges of the 21st century.”
In related news, Capito will be in Wheeling on Nov. 10, at Bethlehem Elementary School for her West Virginia Girls Rise Up program. Capito launched this initiative in 2015 with the goal of empowering young women through education, fitness, and self-confidence.