Washington, DC,,

On June 13, more than 100 scientists, educators and representatives from the private sector and foreign governments will meet at the U.S. Department of State as part of a symposium titled “Changing Mindsets to Promote Women and Girls in Science.”

Engaging women and girls in development worldwide is a priority for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Underutilization of women’s talents in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) deprives nations of diversity of thought and expertise in tackling critical challenges. While women scientists have made stunning contributions in key fields, overall, there are stark disparities for women at every level of the scientific career path pipeline. Women should be increasingly engaged in building modern communications and transportation systems, preventing the spread of disease, protecting environmental resources and overcoming food insecurity. When women do not engage in STEM, girls do not see role models and as a result, their own career path choices seem limited.

The June 13 symposium will examine programs and policies that are making a positive impact on attracting girls to STEM fields, keeping them interested in STEM through college, and providing concrete tools for women to maintain them at every level of their scientific careers. It will focus on institutional reforms that work, and on policies and practices that help shape perceptions about women, girls and STEM.

This symposium fulfills a U.S. government commitment made at the 55th session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) in February 2011, where the theme was empowering women and girls through science and technology. The Department of State’s Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs (OES), in close partnership with the Secretary of State’s Office of Global Women’s Issues, is leading this initiative. The Organization of the Islamic Conference and the National Science Foundation are major partners. Additional partners are NASA, the National Institutes of Health, USAID, the Iraqi Women’s Fellowship Foundation, and the National Academy of Sciences.

Participants will have an opportunity to learn about:

  • Cutting edge practices that are helping to attract girls to STEM and support women in STEM, both in the U.S. and internationally.
  • Ways in which societies can help empower women and girls through STEM.
  • How institutions in the developing world are working to overcome barriers to involvement in STEM, and how this makes a difference in the lives of women and girls.
  • How the U.S. government is helping women and girls in the developing world engage in STEM.

Media are invited to attend the opening addresses starting at 9:00 a.m. and ending at 9:40 a.m. There will not be a question and answer period at this event; however, symposium participants will be available for interviews.

Access time for writers and stills: 8:30 a.m. – 8:55 a.m. at the 23rd Street entrance.

Media representatives must present of one of the following to gain admittance to the Department of State: (1) a U.S. government-issued identification card (Department of State, White House, Congress, Department of Defense, or Foreign Press Center), (2) a media-issued photo ID card, or (3) a letter from their employer on letterhead verifying employment as a journalist and an official photo identification (driver’s license or passport).



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