Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla’s bill to help keep women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics has passed the Assembly Committee on Higher Education.
The following information is from the Office of Assemblywoman Bonilla:
Assemblywoman Susan A. Bonilla continues to address gender inequities with her measure AB 2350, which was approved today by the Assembly Higher Education Committee. AB 2350 seeks to increase the number of women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields by raising awareness that pregnancy discrimination is included in the federal Title IX standards and by requiring universities to adopt policies to implement Title IX.
“With the increased demand for jobs within the STEM fields, it is critical that women are not choosing to exit the STEM pipeline because of discrimination they experienced in graduate school programs,” said Assemblywoman Bonilla (D-Concord). “While Title IX standards may require gender equity in all federally funded educational programs, the reality is, the standards are not being met.”
One of the leading reasons why women exit STEM fields is because most colleges and universities do not provide maternity leave or reasonable and necessary accommodations during pregnancy. For instance, if a student must take a leave of absence due to pregnancy, often times their spot in the program is not guaranteed and they do not receive extensions on assignments or on the time in which they have to complete their degree. AB 2350 addresses these concerns and creates clear steps for universities to adhere to the standards set by Title IX.
“There are too many talented and intelligent women leaving academia due to pregnancy discrimination,” said Assemblywoman Bonilla. “Far too often when we think of Title IX, we associate it with equality in athletics. It is time we not only recognize Title IX in higher education, but that we reinforce the requirements to allow for the advancement of women in STEM.”