Council on Women and Girls Blog
- Posted byon October 24, 2011 at 5:50 PM EST
Ed note: This blog was cross-posted from the Office of Science Technology and Policy
What advice do some of the top women scientists and engineers in America have for girls all over the country?
“Go ahead and start breaking stuff,” said researcher Gayle Hagler in the above White House video, because that’s how she got her start.
Gayle was one of 94 recipients of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) who gathered in the East Room of the White House to meet the President earlier this month. PECASE awardees are selected each year to honor outstanding scientists and engineers who are beginning their independent research careers, show exceptional potential for leadership, and have demonstrated a commitment to community service and the advancement of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education.
Gayle, in particular, was recognized for “exceptional research to characterize the effects of traffic-related air pollution,” but there was a time when she didn’t even know the difference between a Phillips and a Flathead screwdriver. That’s why she and a few of her fellow female PECASE recipients took a few minutes out of their busy visit to the White House to send a special video message to girls who might be interested in STEM subjects: Get hands on experience, and get it now.
Moving America from the middle to the top of the pack in STEM education is a priority championed by President Obama and the First Lady, and making sure girls and other historically underrepresented groups have the tools and support they need to excel in these subjects is part of this effort. Less than a month ago, the First Lady made this clear in an event at the White House: “If we’re going to out-innovate and out-educate the rest of the world, then we have to open doors to everyone. We can't afford to leave anyone out. We need all hands on deck. And that means clearing hurdles for women and girls as they navigate careers in science, technology, engineering, and math.”
And these hurdles are coming down left and right. Thanks to flexible workplace policies like those featured in the National Science Foundation’s recently launched Career-Life Balance Initiative, women researchers are facing an easier path to having careers as innovators while also enjoying rewarding lives as parents. Considering that women in STEM careers earn 33 percent more than their non-STEM counterparts, these steps to retain women in the STEM workforce ensure increased opportunities for women to achieve economic prosperity.
One need only look at this year’s PECASE winners to witness the incredible frontiers that women scientists and engineers are already traversing. As the President noted in his remarks in the East Room, roughly 40 percent of this year’s PECASE winners were women, among them individuals who serve as important role models to girls within their community and beyond. Check out the full list here.
As these women and the winners of the Google Global Science Fair prove, girls are just as capable as boys when it comes to math, science, and technology. So, girls, in the spirit of Gayle Hagler, grab a tool kit and get to work!
Hallie Schneir is White House Liaison for Women in the Office of Public Engagement
- Posted byon October 17, 2011 at 8:38 AM EST
Welcome to the Council on Women and Girls Weekly Highlights! If you have friends or family who would like to support the efforts of the Council on Women and Girls, please visit our website and share this link with others on Facebook and Twitter.
A lot of exciting accomplishments for women were highlighted here at the White House recently, and across the world this past week. All three Nobel Peace Prize winners were women from Africa and the Middle East, we were visited by female soccer and basketball all-stars, the First Lady's Lets' Move! program attempted to beat a Guiness World Record and the state arrival for the President and First Lady of South Korea was on Thursday.
The President continued to focus on getting Americans back to work. On Tuesday, October 11, President Obama met with the Council on Jobs and Competitiveness to discuss the security of our economy. Yesterday, as a part of South Korean President Lee Myung-bak's official state visit, President Obama and President Lee held a joint press conference in the East Room of the White House today taking questions from both the U.S. and Korean press on a number of issues including the recently passed landmark trade agreement between the two countries.
- Posted byon October 17, 2011 at 8:20 AM EST
As the celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month draws to a close, I am reminded of my mother, Elisa. She persevered through adversity to ensure that her six children would have a better life. She instilled in us a confidence to have big dreams despite growing up in public housing in Harlem.
Mom lived long enough to see me fulfill my dream of becoming an attorney, but she could have never dreamed her daughter would one day work for the President of the United States.
This administration’s commitment to Latinas starts at the top. President Obama has nominated more Latinas to positions of power than any chief executive in American history. This includes nominating Justice Sonia Sotomayor to be the first Latina on the Supreme Court and Secretary Hilda L. Solis as the first Latina to lead the Department of Labor.
- Posted byon October 13, 2011 at 5:09 PM EST
On Thursday October 6, Members of the U.S. Women's National Soccer Team and First Lady Michelle Obama took to the South Lawn for a Let's Move! soccer clinic with young players from Soccer Sisters United in Philadelphia and Prince William Courage Soccer Club in Woodbridge, Virginia.
Nicole Barnhart shares her experience and insight into achieving one's goals:
I started playing soccer when I was nearly seven years old. Growing up with an older brother taught me to be tough and competitive, but in the beginning I saw soccer as nothing more than another fun opportunity to get out and play a sport I enjoyed.
I had many aspirations growing up. I wanted to be a marine biologist, but I will not likely ever achieve that goal. At one point I wanted to be either a firefighter or a hockey player (mind you, I had never skated a day in my life). And, of course, I wanted to be a professional soccer player and represent my country in the Olympics and the World Cup. As children, we all dream up many things. Yet how often are we fortunate enough to see our dreams actually come true?
- Posted byon October 13, 2011 at 11:15 AM EST
On Thursday October 6th, the Texas A&M Women’s Basketball team was welcomed by President Barack Obama to the White House to celebrate their 2011 NCAA championship, in the Rose Garden. Fifty years ago, Texas A&M didn’t have any women -- much less a women’s basketball team. The President recognized the team for the tremendous accomplishment of winning their first national championship and the work they do giving back to their community, including a basketball clinic for local students.
Gary Blair reflects on his journey and the power of women in sports:
- Posted byon October 12, 2011 at 4:00 PM EST
Last week, the White House Office of Public Engagement and the White House Council on Women and Girls hosted members of the African Women’s Entrepreneurship Program (AWEP), an initiative launched in coordination with the Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program. The program was created a year ago toadvance women's leadership and to grow women-owned small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
Women entrepreneurs, representing 40 sub-Saharan African countries, engaged in a dialogue with Tina Tchen, Executive Director of the White House Council on Women and Girls, Gene Sperling, Director of the White House National Economic Council, and Ana Harvey, Assistant Administrator at the US Small Business Association on ways to develop and foster stronger business partnerships between Africa and the United States. The discussion also centered on the Administration’s efforts to foster the increased participation of women entrepreneurs in Africa as well as in the United States.
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