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2015 Report on the Status of Women and Girls in California™ to be released March 19 at the Skirball

Los Angeles, March 16, 2015 —Women’s History Month is often celebrated exclusively as a look back at the achievements of women throughout history. On March 19, Mount Saint Mary’s – the only women’s university in Los Angeles – will use the spotlight of Women’s History Month to call attention to the current political, economic and social standing of California’s women and girls.

On Thursday, March 19, the University will unveil its 2015 Report on the Status of Women and Girls in California™, as part of a free, public forum at the Skirball Cultural Center, from 9 a.m.-noon. This event has been sold out since early March, with more than 1,000 people expected to attend this event, which over the past four years has spawned a statewide movement for advocates of gender equality. 

For event details, visit 

This year’s keynote speaker is Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, author and activist Sheryl WuDunn. WuDunn co-authored the book “Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide” with her husband, New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof. The book launched a global campaign and led to the recently released follow-up, “A Path Appears.” 

Amy Elaine Wakeland, First Lady of the City of Los Angeles, will serve as the event’s opening speaker. Ann McElaney-Johnson, president of Mount Saint Mary’s University, will present key findings from this year’s Report. Other featured speakers will share their expertise on a pair of panels:     

Women and Girls: A City, State and National Perspective

  •  Eileen Decker, L.A. deputy mayor for Homeland Security and Public Safety, and a recent nominee by President Barack Obama to serve as U.S.  Attorney for the Central District of California.
  • Surina Khan, CEO of the Women’s Foundation of California, former executive director of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission.
  • Nancy McFadden, executive secretary for California Gov. Jerry Brown, former senior VP for Pacific Gas and Electric Corporation.
  • Tess Vigeland, author, journalist and longtime host of NPR’s Marketplace Morning – will serve as moderator of both panels. 

Women and Girls: A Global Perspective

  • Geena Davis, Academy Award-winning actor, founder of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media at Mount Saint Mary’s University.
  • Rangita de Silva de Alwis, associate dean of International Affairs at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, and inaugural director of The Wilson Center’s Women in Public Service Project.  
  • Jane Wurwand, founder of FITE (Financial Independence Through Entrepreneurship), a global women’s initiative, and special adviser to the UN Foundation’s Global Entrepreneur’s Council.     

In publishing the 2015 Report on the Status of Women and Girls in California™, Mount Saint Mary’s continues its mission to shed light on gender inequities facing the state’s females. This year’s research also includes a first-time global perspective that examines international gender gaps, and places California’s results in a global context.     

Among the key findings of this year’s research:

  • Even though California women earn more college degrees than men, they are far outpaced in the highest-paying fields.
  • Single women with children, especially women of color, are more likely than men to endure poverty.  
  • Statewide, women can expect to live longer than men, but disparities in health and healthcare persist among ethnic groups.
  • While the number of women serving in the U.S. Congress reached a record high with the most recent midterm elections, the number of women serving at the state level has actually fallen to its lowest point since 1998.     

About Mount Saint Mary’s University  

Mount Saint Mary’s is the only women’s university in Los Angeles and one of the most diverse in the nation. The University is known nationally for its research on gender equality, its innovative health and science programs, and its commitment to community service. As a leading liberal arts institution, Mount Saint Mary’s provides year-round, flexible and online programs at the undergraduate and graduate level. Weekend, evening and graduate programs are offered to both women and men. Mount alums are engaged, active global citizens who use their knowledge and skills to better themselves, their communities and the world.


About the Report on the Status of Women and Girls in California™ 

First issued in 2012, the Report is one of the most authoritative and comprehensive compilations of current research focusing on the issues and trends affecting the more than 19 million women and girls who call California home. Its analysis includes demographics; educational attainment; employment and earnings; poverty; media; business leadership; political representation; physical and mental health; violence; and veterans. To learn more, visit

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