Yesterday, the National Journal hosted its annual conference of the Most Influential Women in Washington. The event was filled with exciting discussions from distinguished panelists who highlighted the strides women have made in reshaping the world over the last few decades through their work in policy, economics, and politics. However, panelists also cited areas where women are still underrepresented, including science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.
As women currently comprise a strong majority (nearly 60%) of all undergraduate and graduate students in the U.S., encouraging interest in STEM subjects among these women may help to ensure that the US can continue to develop technological innovations that promote jobs and economic growth. On their respective panels, CEO and Founder of StudentsFirst, Michelle Rhee, and U.S. Food and Drug Administration Commissioner, Dr. Margaret Hamburg, stressed the need for students--male and female--to embrace STEM fields.
Not only does STEM education support future innovation, but STEM-related industries also remain one of the most promising sources of job growth over the next few years, as demonstrated in a recent PhRMA blog. Education in STEM subjects helps to ensure that America can remain competitive globally.
I was encouraged to see so many influential women lending their voice to stress the importance of bringing women into these vital fields. For more information on the importance of STEM education and global competitiveness, stay tuned for coverage of the National Journal's panel, Early Education for Success: Early Childhood Education's Impact on the Economy, later this month.