Washington, DC – Today, Representatives Bill Foster (D-IL) and Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) sent a bipartisan letter highlighting efforts to encourage girls to develop skills in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Recently, a Girl Scout troop in Orange County, California created the My STEM Life badge to encourage girls to consider careers in STEM. Foster, Rohrabacher and others wrote to Girl Scouts CEO Anna Maria Chávez urging the Scouts to adopt the badge nationally.
“It’s wonderful to see this effort to encourage girls to consider STEM careers,” said Foster. “As a father, I encouraged my daughter to explore STEM subjects, and will never forget the first time she used a vertical milling machine to engineer her own creation. We all need to do more to encourage girls to explore STEM and remind them that their possibilities are limitless.”
“Girls are not seeing a long term path in STEM, yet projections indicate that STEM jobs will grow 17% by 2018, compared with less than 10% growth for non-STEM jobs. We need more women entering STEM professions so we can fill key positions and maintain global competitiveness. Studies show that girls lose or gain interest, skill and confidence in STEM by eighth grade, so it’s critical that we reach them early. Girl Scouts of Orange County’s new My STEM Life badge introduces middle school girls to STEM in engaging ways they relate to and connects them to dynamic STEM role models, inspiring them to pursue their STEM education,” said Nancy Nygren, CEO, Girl Scouts of Orange County.
The group encouraged the Girl Scouts to adopt the My STEM Life badge nationally, saying:
Girl Scouts of the USA has a long and proud legacy of empowering girls to become effective leaders in their families and communities. With badges in everything from first aid to entrepreneurship and even public policy, we hope that Girl Scout troops around the country will also encourage girls to pursue their interest in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) by creating a badge like the My STEM Life badge.
Although women fill close to half of all jobs in the U.S. economy, we know they fill less than 25 percent of the jobs in STEM fields. Encouraging girls to consider pursuing a career in STEM will only not benefit those girls personally and professionally, it will also help move our economy forward as they use their skills to cure diseases, explain the mysteries of the universe, or keep our country safe.