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The Florida Democrat was one of 13 congresswomen who addressed the MWM luncheon. Although only two Republicans spoke at the event, Fraser said, “We have received a tremendous amount of support across party lines.”
The senators and representatives were in and out of the luncheon, running back to their respective chambers to cast votes. “If there were more women in the Senate, we would not be conducting votes during meal time like we are right now,” joked Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska.
Murkowski was introduced by representatives from the Girl Scouts of the United States of America, one of MWM’s partners. More than 50 national organizations have also joined MWM’s efforts, including Wal-Mart, General Motors, the National 4-H Council and the National Women’s Political Caucus.
While a handful of men represented these organizations, the focus was clearly on women’s role in STEM fields and what women can bring to the table. With women underrepresented in STEM careers, “we’re missing this huge brain trust and power,” Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., said.
The representatives praised their fellow women, saying they can bring different skills to STEM careers compared with their male counterparts. “Women work twice as hard,” said Rep. Grace F. Napolitano, D-Calif. And Rep. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., an Iraq War veteran, elicited applause from the audience when she said, “If you need someone who can multitask in an aircraft . . . you need a woman to do that.”
The luncheon ended on an energetic note, as three representatives from the Science Cheerleaders brought everyone to their feet. “2-4-6-8! What do we appreciate? Girls! In! STEM!” chanted the attendees.
Following the luncheon, the leaders met with female ambassadors to the United States in an effort to expand their mentoring program worldwide.