As you’ve probably noticed, science is going through an extremely tough time in America right now. When researchers aren’t bracing themselves for massive and historic funding cuts, scientists are being censored, bullied, and dismissed by the federal government – an administration that is shoring up the views of anti-vaxxers and climate change deniers.
There are, however, plenty of pro-science lawmakers that aim to push back the tide. Take Representative Jacky Rosen, a Congresswoman from Nevada’s 3rd District: She’s just introduced a bill to the House that aims to get as many girls into computer science and coding as possible.
H.R. 3316, also dubbed the “Code Like A Girl Act”, was introduced by Rosen – a Democrat – yesterday, and it has already gained support from across the aisle. It will commit the National Science Foundation to create two brand-new grants, which will fund computer science programs aimed at girls under the age of 10.
The basis for the bill is simple: there aren’t enough women in STEM fields today. Although it’s often reported that around a quarter of all STEM field jobs are taken by women, the real figure is more like 14 percent. When it comes to computer science, fewer than one-in-five graduates in the field are women.
Rosen, a computer scientist herself, is convinced the US can do better.
“When I started my career as a computer programmer, I was one of very few women in a male-dominated industry,” she said in a press release accompanying the bill.
“This disparity is depriving our country of talented minds that could be working on our most challenging problems. Given the ever increasing importance of computer science in today’s economy, it’s critical we find ways to break down barriers and level the playing field for women everywhere.”
Women are massively underrepresented in the sciences, and bills like this – particularly during this turbulent time of “alternative facts” and anti-scientific atmospheres – are always welcome. The bill is yet to pass through the House, but it would be a travesty if it fails to do so.
In fact, this type of bill couldn’t have picked a better time to make its debut.
Right now, scientists are running for office. People are marching in support of both academia and women’s rights. Congressional Democrats and Republicans are working together to block those gigantic spending cuts, transforming them into spending increases instead.
States, businesses, and cities are banding together to support climate advocacy. Even children are standing up to politicians that dismiss environmental efforts.
We don’t know about you, but it looks like science is on the offensive – and, slowly but surely, it’s winning the fight.