Posted at 8:56 AM
The importance of increasing the representation of women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) fields was the main topic of Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Michelle K. Lee’s presentation at the Million Women Mentors Summit at the National Press Club in Washington D.C. At the September 21 event, Director Lee introduced the USPTO’s new “All in STEM” Initiative to bring further attention and support to the topic.
Lee, the first woman director in the USPTO’s 225 year history, spoke about those who inspired and mentored her throughout her education and career in STEM-related fields. She provided advice for girls and young women, and spoke about the many programs the USPTO supports aimed to inspire girls to get involved in STEM. She highlighted the intellectual property patch which the USPTO developed in partnership with the Girl Scout Council of the Nation’s Capital, and Urban Alliance, a program that provides internship and mentorship opportunities for high school students. Read Director Lee’s full remarks.
The USPTO’s All in STEM initiative is a campaign to encourage women at all stages – from grade school students to entrepreneurs – to pursue STEM degrees and work in STEM careers for the benefit of our economy and society. According to the Department of Commerce’s Economics and Statistics Administration report, STEM: Good Jobs Now and for the Future, STEM jobs are being created at three times the rate of non-STEM positions. STEM jobs are critical not only to our country’s continued economic success, but also critical at the USPTO itself, in order to have examiners review and grant patents on America’s latest technological innovations.
In her remarks, Director Lee stated:
“We cannot succeed in the global economy with, in effect, one hand tied behind our back. At the broadest level, the mission of the USPTO is to promote American innovation, and I believe this should be across all geographic regions of the country, and across all demographics.”
Through All in STEM, the USPTO is working with other government agencies and organizations to encourage girls to pursue studies STEM fields and women to work in STEM careers. In closing, Director Lee challenged others to share what they are doing to advance women in STEM using #AllinSTEM on Twitter.