Washington, D.C. – The House of Representatives today voted in strong support of two bipartisan bills encouraging more women to pursue careers in science: the Inspiring the Next Space Pioneers, Innovators, Researchers, and Explorers (INSPIRE) Women Act (H.R. 4755), introduced by Research and Technology Subcommittee Chairwoman Barbara Comstock (R-Va.) and the Promoting Women in Entrepreneurship Act (H.R. 4742), introduced by Committee Member Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D-Conn.).

Rep. Comstock: “I am pleased to have introduced and today passed the INSPIRE Women Act. American businesses are having a difficult time finding skilled workers in the traditional STEM fields. The INSPIRE Women Act calls on the NASA Administrator to use programs within NASA to put young women and girls on a course toward STEM careers that will further help the space program and American businesses. For the American economy to be successful in the 21st Century, we need to have a skilled labor force that understands innovation and emerging technologies. The INSPIRE Women Act will help create a climate for young girls and women to be successful in STEM and competitive on the world stage, and be great assets to growing the 21st Century economy.”

The INSPIRE Women Act authorizes the NASA Administrator to encourage women and girls to study science, technology, engineering, and mathematics and to pursue careers that will further advance America’s space science and exploration efforts through support of initiatives like: NASA GIRLS and NASA BOYS; Aspire to Inspire; and the Summer Institute in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Research. Such important programs are intended to encourage more young women to enter fields such as science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). The bill was co-sponsored by Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and Ranking Member Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas).

Rep. Esty: “In today’s economy, women make up over half of the workforce, but only own 30% of private businesses in the United States. The sad truth is that women still face significant barriers to entrepreneurship. This is a problem for us as a nation because women leaders bring new perspectives to the table. In our increasingly global economy, we cannot afford to overlook this valuable and talented resource. The overwhelming, bipartisan passage of the Promoting Women in Entrepreneurship Act this afternoon makes clear that helping women break into fields where they have long been underrepresented is a priority for our national economy, and I’m excited the House has taken this important step forward.”

The bipartisan Promoting Women in Entrepreneurship Act authorizes the National Science Foundation to use its entrepreneurial programs to recruit and support women to extend their focus beyond the laboratory and into the commercial world. The bill encourages the National Science Foundation to tackle the problem that only 26 percent of women who attain degrees in STEM fields work in STEM jobs.