Senators Capito, Rosen Host Inaugural Bipartisan Women in STEM Caucus Event

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STEM Caucus Event

To watch Senator Capito’s remarks that begin at the 5:05 mark, click here.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), co-founders of the Senate’s first Women in STEM Caucus, hosted an inaugural panel discussion on women in the STEM workforce.

The panel was moderated by Karen Horting, Executive Director and CEO for the Society of Women Engineers, and featured Senators Capito and Rosen along with Dr. Aster Sigel, Director of Undergraduate Research at Nevada State College, and Dr. Rolanda J. Johnson Wilkerson, Principal Scientist and Senior Director of Scientific Communications for Olay Beauty. According to the National Women’s Law Center, women’s rate of participation in the labor force is at the lowest level since 1988. In the STEM workforce specifically, women are “vastly underrepresented,” holding less than one-third of all STEM jobs.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a unique impact on women in the workforce, including those in STEM fields,” Senator Capito said. “Right now is a critical time to support policies that help women face these challenges and make it easier to both reenter, and thrive, in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math. As part of our ongoing efforts in Congress, today’s inaugural conversation brought together experts, business and academic leaders, and those on the ground who are working to prepare the next generation of female workers. I’m proud to continue the momentum Senator Rosen and I have built, and look forward to expanding our work to help more women pursue lasting careers in STEM fields.”

“Early in my career as a computer programmer, I saw firsthand that women are underrepresented in STEM careers. Today, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, that shortage of women in the STEM workforce has only been exacerbated by the unique challenges the pandemic has presented for women,” Senator Rosen said. “This conversation is an incredibly important one for lawmakers and business leaders to have, and I am grateful to Senator Capito for partnering with me to launch this caucus. I look forward to expanding our bipartisan work to improve access to STEM jobs for women and make STEM more equitable for all.”

Since joining the Senate, Senator Capito has strongly advocated for more female involvement in STEM fields through legislative efforts. Additionally, as West Virginia’s first female U.S. Senator, Senator Capito launched a female empowerment program known as, West Virginia Girls Rise Up, which inspires the next generation of female leaders through education, physical fitness, and self-confidence. Since launching, Senator Capito has hosted several STEM-focused Girls Rise Up events with NASA Astronaut Peggy Whitson, IBM, and NASA Astronaut Loral O’Hara.

Last Congress, Senators Capito and Rosen introduced and passed the bipartisan Building Blocks of STEM Act, which would create and expand upon STEM education initiatives at the National Science Foundation (NSF) for young children, including new research grants to increase the participation of girls in computer science. Their bill was signed into law at the end of 2019.

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