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Mount Releases Report on the Status of Women and Girls in California

March 29, 2012 -- The groundbreaking Report on the Status of Women and Girls in California released today by Mount Saint Mary’s University provides never-before-compiled data in a format for general use by women, legislators and community based organizations. Visit The Report online today for more information.

The report shines a light on the 18.7 million women and girls who call California home – a number representing more than half of the state's residents and brings together an unprecedented bank of statistics on demographics, education, employment and earnings, poverty, leadership, media and technology, physical health, mental health, violence and incarceration.

Top women leaders in entertainment, business and public policy addressed the gathering on the Doheny Campus. "This report is long overdue in California and underscores the urgent need to advocate for women's issues," said Geena Davis, Academy Award winner and founder of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media. "I am committed to working for change for all women and girls in California. It's not just an issue of gender equality; it's also an economic issue. Addressing inequalities is good not only for women, but also for California as a whole." Davis also is an appointee to the California Commission on the Status of Women. The College partnered with the commission to put on the event.

Disparities start early in life; high school girls are less likely than their male counterparts to excel in advanced science classes such as physics and chemistry. "As a women's college with a mission to serve and to lead, MSMU has an inherent interest in the forces that shape women's lives, and in discovering ways to remove barriers to progress," says Mount President Ann McElaney-Johnson. "This report confirms that entrenched gender stereotypes are standing in the way of real progress for women."

  • Women constitute just 16 percent of engineers and architects, and only 24 percent of mathematical or computer occupations.
  • Poverty rates for female-headed households are alarmingly high, with 17 percent of all California females living in poverty.
  • Women and girls continue to be underrepresented in family films, both in front of and behind the camera.
  • Only 3 percent of CEOs are women in California's Fortune 400 companies.
  • California women rate their self-confidence and emotional health lower than men.
  • Just 28 percent of state legislators and 9 percent of California city mayors are women.

The day's panelists and speakers included: Azure Antoinette, spoken word artist, photographer, advocate; Beth McGovern, interim executive director, California Commission on the Status of Women; Maria Blanco, vice president for civic engagement, California Community Foundation; Helen Boutrous, chair, department of history and political science, Mount Saint Mary’s University; Ann McElaney-Johnson, president, Mount Saint Mary’s University; Judy Patrick, president, Women's Foundation of California; Linda J. Sax, UCLA professor and author, The Gender Gap in College: Maximizing the Developmental Potential of Women and Men; Kimberly Fowler, CEO/founder, YAS Fitness Centers; and Val Zavala, vice president, news and public affairs, KCET

Mount faculty spent several months pulling and analyzing data from federal, state and local databases to compile the report. The College looks forward to sparking lively discussion and invites a call to action from all segments of women. California data can be a leading indicator of trends in other states across the country.

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