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Trump signs laws to promote women in STEM

Two new laws will let NASA and the National Science Foundation push for women and girls to get into science, math and related fields.

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The White House just gave women in STEM a boost.

President Donald Trump signed two laws on Tuesday that authorize NASA and the National Science Foundation to encourage women and girls to get into STEM fields. Those are science, technology, engineering and math.

The Inspire Act directs NASA to promote STEM fields to women and girls, and encourage women to pursue careers in aerospace. The law gives NASA three months to present two congressional committees with its plans for getting staff -- think astronauts, scientists and engineers -- in front of girls studying STEM in elementary and secondary schools.

The full name of the law is the Inspiring the Next Space Pioneers, Innovators, Researchers, and Explorers Women Act, in case you're wondering where the acronym Inspire comes from.

The second law is the Promoting Women in Entrepreneurship Act. It authorizes the National Science Foundation to support entrepreneurial programs aimed at women.

"It's not fair and it's not even smart," Trump said of the low percentage of women with STEM degrees who actually work in the field. About a quarter of the women with STEM degrees work in the field.

The topic of women in tech has grown more heated over the past few years. Although women account for about 47 percent of the workforce in the US, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, they make up only 25.6 percent of computer and mathematical occupations, and 15.4 percent of architecture and engineering occupations. These days, women earn only 18 percent of computer science degrees. Meanwhile, President Barack Obama's administration projected there were more than a half million open jobs in information technology.

Trump signed the bills surrounded by women including Rep. Barbara Comstock, who introduced the Inspire Act, and Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, as well as his daughter Ivanka Trump and First Lady Melania Trump. Vice President Mike Pence was also on hand, along with Texas Rep. Lamar Smith, to name a few.

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President Trump signs two laws to promote women in STEM careers.

Zach Gibson, Getty Images

In the Oval Office, Trump expressed the need to have more policies addressing women in the workforce.

"That's really going to be addressed by my administration over the years with more and more of these bills coming out and address the barriers faced by female entrepreneurs and by those in STEM fields," he said.

The White House didn't immediately respond to a request for comment as to what these other bills could be.

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