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Key leaders in a variety of fields will help Mount Saint Mary’s University release its third annual Report on the Status of Women & Girls in California, on March 27, at the Mount's Doheny Campus in downtown Los Angeles.

Mount Saint Mary’s University to Issue Annual Report on the Status of Women and Girls in California on March 27

Contact:David Garcia
Email: dgarcia@msmu.edu
 

For the first time, the Report will feature an in-depth look at Los Angeles County's female population.

Los Angeles, March 10, 2014 – Mount Saint Mary’s University will announce the findings of its 2014 Report on the Status of Women and Girls in California at a free, public forum to be held from 10 a.m. until noon on Thursday, March 27, at the College's Doheny Campus, located at 10 Chester Place in Los Angeles.

Nearly 1,000 people are expected to attend the March 27 forum, which will feature a dozen local, state and national women leaders – representing business, education, government and media – who will discuss the Report's findings and its socio-economic and public policy implications. Speakers include Geena Davis, Academy Award-winning actress and chair of the California Commission on the Status of Women, and Connie Rice, noted civil-rights attorney and co-director of Advancement Project.

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 living in California. Its analysis includes demographics, business, education, employment, physical and mental health, politics, poverty and public safety.

For the first time, the 2014 Report will include a special supplement focusing on similar demographic data specific to women and girls living in Los Angeles County.

"This year's report reveals slow and steady improvement for women in some areas, but persistent, troubling patterns in others," said Mount Saint Mary’s University President Ann McElaney-Johnson. "With women and girls comprising half of the state's population – 60 percent of them women of color – we can ill afford to let them remain an underdeveloped and underrepresented segment of society."

2014 Report Highlights
Among the Report's findings:

Education – California high school and college graduation rates are higher for women than men, and women continue to earn college degrees at higher rates. However, women are underrepresented in the highest-paying jobs and remain consistently underrepresented in most science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) courses.

Employment and earnings – Statewide, women earn 85 cents on the dollar compared with their male counterparts. Nationally, women earn 78 cents on the dollar compared with men. However, California women tend to occupy positions in the lower ranks of most professional categories and are concentrated in lower-paying fields.

Poverty – Those hardest hit by poverty continue to be women with the least amount of education, single women with children, and minority women. Nearly one-third of women living below the poverty level are under the age of 18, and 54 percent are Latina.

Politics – Significant gender gaps exist in the number of women not only among California's political leadership but in elected positions at any level of government. Since 2005, California has dropped from 10th to 19th in the number of women serving in state legislative office.

Business – California has the most women-owned businesses in the nation. Women own 30 percent of all firms in the state, with women of color owning nearly half of those firms. However, women hold only 11 percent of the top positions at California's 400 largest companies.

Physical health – California women and girls have increasingly longer life expectancies and slightly longer expectancies than the national average. However, there are ethnic disparities: Asian-American women have the longest life expectancy at 89 years compared with 78 years for African-American women.

Women veterans – Female veterans are the fastest-growing segment of the state's homeless population. Between 81 percent and 93 percent of women veterans have experienced factors known to increase homelessness, including trauma, childhood abuse and domestic violence, as well as other factors relating to military service, such as sexual assault and combat-related trauma.

March 27 Forum
Featured presenters include:

Dr. Helen Boutrous, principal editor of the Report on the Status of Women and Girls in California and chair of the history/political science department at Mount Saint Mary’s University;

Geena Davis, Academy Award winner, founder of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, and chair of the California Commission on the Status of Women; and

Connie Rice, noted civil-rights attorney, co-director of Advancement Project and former co-director of the Los Angeles office of the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund.

The program will include two panel sessions, both moderated by national award-winning journalist Tess Vigeland:

"Los Angeles: Through a Gender Lens" – An in-depth look at the diversity of, and the socio-economic challenges facing, the region's female population.

  • Erika Anderson, publisher, Los Angeles magazine;
  • Dr. Susie Baldwin, MD, chief, Health Assessment Unit, Office of Health Assessment & Epidemiology, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health;
  • Vicky Brown, founder, Idomeneo Enterprises, Inc., and board president, National Association of Women Business Owners-Los Angeles chapter; and
  • Ana Guerrero, chief of staff, Office of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.

"Closing Gender Gaps: A Policy Perspective" – Examining the ways that state and local government can improve the lives of women and girls.

  • Kelly Jenkins-Pultz, program analyst, U.S. Department of Labor, Women's Bureau;
  • Sheila Kuehl, former California state senator, president of Kuehl Consulting, and founding director of the Public Policy Institute at Santa Monica College;
  • Dr. Somjita Mitra, economist, Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation; and
  • Betty Yee, member, First Equalization District, State Board of Equalization.

For reservations and additional information about the March 27 event, visit: http://statusofwomen.msmu.edu.

About Mount Saint Mary’s University
Mount Saint Mary’s University in Los Angeles offers a dynamic learning experience in the liberal arts and sciences. Primarily a women's college, Mount St. Mary's has a diverse student body, with 50 percent of our students the first in their families to attend college. We are dedicated to providing a superior education enhanced by an emphasis on building leadership skills and fostering a spirit to serve others. For more information, visit www.msmc.la.edu.

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