House Passes Esty’s Bipartisan Women in Aerospace Aviation Act
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty (CT-05)’s bipartisan legislation to strengthen the American aerospace industry by enhancing K-12 education initiatives to encourage women and girls’ participation in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields passed the House today by a vote of 409-17.
“Bringing women to the table is not only the right thing to do, it is the smart and the necessary thing to do,” Esty said. “With an aging workforce, we must do everything in our power to broaden and deepen our pool of available workers.
“It’s a fact that girls who have women science teachers are more likely to consider a career in science. And teachers who are exposed to real-life science are better able to kindle interest in science among their students. My bill will help to ensure that more STEM teachers will enter classrooms with firsthand knowledge of how aerospace technologies are strengthening America’s future.
“I’m committed to helping young women across the country who would thrive from mentorship from female STEM teachers.”
To view a video of Rep. Esty’s remarks from the House floor, click the image above or this link.
The Women in Aerospace Education Act is designed to engage girls at a young age to enter fields that have historically been male-dominated. Under existing law, Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship grants are used by universities to cover the cost of STEM-degree students who go on to teach in rural or lower-income school districts.
Esty’s bill would encourage universities applying for Noyce grants to incorporate aerospace engineering working and learning experiences at the National Laboratories and NASA Centers into their teacher training experience. These teachers, once certified, will then enter classrooms with first-hand knowledge of the impact aerospace projects have on our lives and share that inspiration with their students.
Gail Baker, President of the ISR & Space Systems business of UTC Aerospace Systems in Windsor Locks underscored the need to bring more women into aerospace careers: “Having started my career as an engineer, I applaud this effort to support women in the aerospace industry. At UTC Aerospace Systems we value the transformative impact of having a diverse workforce, and I thank Congresswoman Esty and her co-sponsors for serving as a catalyst to enable more women to pursue careers in this field. Through focused diversity and inclusion efforts, together we can continue to move the aerospace industry forward.”
“This bill rolls out a ‘welcome mat’ to women in aerospace,” said Kelley T. Johnson, Founder & President of Doors to Explore Inc. in Newtown. It’s important that young women have early access to research opportunities early in their career to build the skills and confidence toward positions of greater responsibility. Cultural stereotypes and gender bias often discourage women from considering all the career options available to them. This bill raises the visibility of aerospace as a viable option through research experience.”
“Overall, we are strong champions of women and support diversity in the industry, currently employing over 31% women in our company and offering advancement opportunities above and beyond those generally seen in equivalent companies,” said Meryl Mallery, Vice-President of Engineering, Ensign-Bickford Aerospace & Defense Company. “We strive to support further the advancement of women and minorities, and therefore applaud Rep. Esty’s efforts to further the cause.”