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Advancing gender equity

L.A. mayor cites University's gender equity research as a "light to expose shortcomings.

January 26, 2018

Mount Saint Mary's University's efforts to advance women and girls everywhere received some prominent attention in the nation's capital.

On Thursday, Jan. 25, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti delivered the keynote speech at the U.S. Mayors Conference in Washington, D.C., and he used the platform to highlight the benefits of efforts to promote gender equity measures in America's cities.

L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti speaking at Mount Saint Mary's in 2015, after the University released its research examining the status of women and girls in Los Angeles.
L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti speaking at Mount Saint Mary's in 2015, after the University released its research examining the status of women and girls in Los Angeles.

"Men, own this as your issue," CNN quoted Garcetti as saying. "Let's not talk about doing it because we have daughters and sisters and mothers. Do it because we know our cities will be more prosperous when we, as leaders, step up."

Mount Saint Mary's, L.A.'s only women's university, is nationally recognized for its research on gender equity, and that includes research conducted for the Mount's hometown. In 2015, Garcetti and the Los Angeles City Commission on the Status of Women commissioned the University to conduct a Report on the Status of Women and Girl in Los Angeles that highlighted obstacles and achievements for women and girls in L.A. Garcetti's administration has consistently used the Report, along with further University studies, as a measuring stick for progress when it comes to gender equity measures across the city.

On Thursday, the mayor noted the impact that Mount Saint Mary's research has had on the City, compelling local leaders to keep gender equity front of mind. "That light exposed the shortcomings that we had," Garcetti said.

Emerald Archer, PhD, is director of the Center for the Advancement of Women at Mount Saint Mary's. She notes that national conversations, such as the one started by Garcetti in D.C., are necessary to change the thinking when it comes to the status of women and girls. 

“Gender inequities do not happen in a vacuum to women only," Archer says. "When women are paid less than men, when they are discriminated against, when they are harassed, and when they are not afforded the same opportunities and support as men, it’s not just women who suffer. It’s their families, our workplaces and our communities as a whole.

“The mayor provided a prime example of how education and advocacy can work. When those with power are willing to listen and learn about the effects of gender inequities, solutions are possible -- solutions that can improve the lives of everyone.”

On March 22, Mount Saint Mary's University will reveal its latest statewide research when it releases its 2018 Report on the Status of Women and Girls in California™ at a public event with discussions and findings focusing on women in the workplace. Learn more at msmu.edu/statusofwomen