Women in STEM just got a boost from the White House. President Trump signed two laws on Feb. 28 that authorize NASA and the National Science Foundation to encourage women and girls to get into STEM fields. Those are science, technology, engineering and math.
The Inspire Act directs NASA to promote STEM fields to women and girls, and encourage women to pursue careers in aerospace. The law gives NASA three months to present two congressional committees with its plans for getting staff -- astronauts, scientists and engineers -- in front of girls studying STEM in elementary and secondary schools.
The full name of the law is the Inspiring the Next Space Pioneers, Innovators, Researchers, and Explorers Women Act.
The second law is the Promoting Women in Entrepreneurship Act. It authorizes the National Science Foundation to support entrepreneurial programs aimed at women.
The topic of women in tech has grown more heated over the past few years. Although women account for about 47% of the workforce in the US, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, they make up only 25.6% of computer and mathematical occupations, and 15.4% of architecture and engineering occupations. Currently, women earn only 18% of computer science degrees. Meanwhile, President Obama's administration projected there were more than a half million open jobs in information technology.