In honor of International Women’s Day, let’s review some recent legislation related to women.
The Good News:
Two bills were recently (Feb. 28, 2017) passed by Congress and signed into law by the President. One authorizes “the National Science Foundation to support entrepreneurial programs for women” – it’s called the “Promoting Women in Entrepreneurship Act.”
The other, the “Inspiring the Next Space Pioneers, Innovators, Researchers, and Explorers (INSPIRE) Women Act,” mandates development of a plan for connecting current and retired NASA scientists, engineers, and astronauts (particularly women) with K-12 female STEM students.
These two bills were so overwhelmingly supported, that they were passed through consensus, without needed a roll call vote.
The Bad News:
President’s new budget would shave 10.5% of the funding from civilian science agencies like the NSF, cut 17% from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), eliminate NASA’s Earth science division, and slash by 40% the EPA Office of Research and Development budget. The ideology behind these cuts is all-out assault on research science, and Earth science and climate science in particular.
“Authorizing” support of women in science and “planning” for mentorship programs is great, but without funding, and in a climate where science is undermined and marginalized, these new opportunities have little chance of being realized.
What about Rob and Bob?
Rob Portman and Bob Latta supported the Promoting Women in Entrepreneurship Act and INSPIRE Women Act, like the rest of their colleagues in Congress.
Thank them, but remind them that when they are working on the 2018 budget, they should fund these programs and fully fund ALL research science.