US president signs two bills to increase proportion of women in science, technology, engineering and maths, and calls for ‘crackdown on offshoring’

President Trump signed two pieces of legislation that aim to boost the participation of women in science, technology, engineering and maths (Stem) fields on 28 February. The first of these new laws authorises the US National Science Foundation to encourage its entrepreneurial programmes to recruit and support women to extend their focus beyond the laboratory and into the commercial world. The second directs Nasa to encourage women and girls to study Stem subjects, pursue careers in aerospace, and further advance the nation’s space science and exploration efforts through programmes targeted especially at girls.

‘Currently, only one in every four women who gets a Stem degree is working in a Stem job, which is not fair,’ Trump stated upon signing the bills. ‘It’s unacceptable that we have so many American women who have these degrees but yet are not being employed in these fields.’

‘Protecting women with Stem degrees, and all Americans with Stem degrees is very important, but it also means you have to crackdown on offshoring, because the offshoring is a tremendous problem that displaces many of our best American workers and brains – the brain power,’ he added.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), women make up about 47% of the workforce in the US but only represent about 13% of chemical engineers, 26% of computer and mathematical jobs and just under 30% of the country’s chemists and materials scientists. The bureau says that women in the US who worked full time had median weekly earnings that were only 83% of their male counterparts.