This week’s Washington Update from the American Association of University Women contained the following report:
President-elect Barack Obama has promised to create 2.5 million new jobs through infrastructure projects in a new stimulus package. But many critics have spoken out, as Linda Hirshman did in an op-ed in the New York Times, wondering where the jobs for women are going to come from.
Constructions workers, who will see the biggest jump from infrastructure projects, are only nine percent women. Engineers will also see a rise in employment opportunities; however women only make up 12 percent of this field.
Hirshman suggests that Obama should push the stimulus towards human capital projects. Investing in schools, libraries, urban youth programs, and social services would create millions of new jobs for women, where they make up large portions of the demographics.
AAUW will be working in coalition with other women’s groups to ensure that the concerns of women, especially poor women, are represented in this economic downturn.
In addition to creating more jobs in traditionally female fields, AAUW supports promoting and strengthening science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education, especially for girls and other underrepresented populations.
To this end, AAUW will launch a major STEM study with funding from National Science Foundation. The study, which will be funded by a two-year, $249,000 grant from the NSF, will focus on the causes and dynamics behind the low participation of women and girls in STEM fields. This is AAUW’s fourth grant from NSF.
Read more about AAUW’S position on STEM education.