Guest blog post by Jane Lubchenco, Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and NOAA Administrator
Last week, as the administration and Congress agreed
on a debt ceiling deal, those of us in the science world were reminded of
another looming deficit: the lack of women with jobs – and education – in
science, engineering, technology and mathematics (STEM).
the “Women in STEM” report issued by Commerce’s Economics and
Statistics Administration (ESA), nearly half of U.S. jobs are filled by women,
yet they hold less than 25 percent of STEM jobs. This is despite the fact that
women with STEM jobs earn 33 percent more than women in other fields.
especially one in the throes of tough economic times, needs all of the skilled
brainpower it has to “win the future.” Science and technological innovation have a
key role to play in creating jobs, stimulating a robust economy and creating
durable solutions to tough problems. Women
and people of color have more to offer than is currently being tapped. Since the ESA report focuses on women, I’ll do
the same here.
We at NOAA are doing our best to
identify, hire, promote and engage talented people. I am surrounded by women in all
stages of their careers who are pursuing their passions for science and science
We have a
history of distinguished women scientists working at NOAA and continue to
actively seek new talent. In addition, women of distinction also fill the
uppermost ranks of the NOAA leadership team.
What differentiates NOAA from other science-based
institutions, and what attracts budding scientists and students to NOAA? One obvious answer is our mission to
create and use cutting-edge science to provide services and stewardship—our weather,
climate and ocean science enterprises.
especially intrigued and excited by weather and climate as “see and feel” phenomena
that touch them daily. The same can be said for the ocean, which like space, is
a largely unexplored frontier that offers the promise of adventure and
This is, in fact, what hooked me.