On March 28, the Center for Advancement of Women at Mount Saint Mary’s University released the findings of its eighth annual The Report on the Status of Women and Girls in California™. The 2019 Report, Intersections: Identity, Access & Equity, focuses on how race, age and socio-economic status shape the lives of women in California.
“Every woman has the right to earn equal pay for equal work, the right to feel safe in her home and neighborhood, and the right to have her interests represented by her elected officials locally and nationally,” said Ann McElaney-Johnson, PhD, president of MSMU. “Our data demonstrates, however, that access to these rights varies among the women of our state.”
California’s First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom spoke with State Senator Holly J. Mitchell, who serves as legislator in residence at the Mount, about how to make California more gender equitable.
“I believe that you need policy change and cultural change together to really move us forward as a country. Part of cultural change is just education and awareness. Laws by themselves need implementation and a whole awareness campaign behind them to ensure people are taking advantage of the legislation,” said Siebel Newsom. “I really feel like California is positioned better than any other state to lead the way and I’m excited about that.”
The release event gathered more than 1,000 leaders from various industries at the Skirball Cultural Center to discuss the report and how to address inequalities in California and the nation as a whole.
Findings of the Report include:
- There is notable economic disparity among California women, which is greatly impacted by education level. Women with a bachelor’s degree earn twice as much as those who only have a high school diploma and three times more than those who have not earned a high school diploma.
- There are more than 1.55 million women-owned businesses in California – more than in any other state. These businesses employ over one million people and account for nearly $233 billion in sales annually. Women of color own 916,800 or 59 percent of these businesses.
- The wage gap is largest for Latinas, who earn 61 cents to every dollar earned by a man, or 43 cents to every dollar earned by a white man.
- Thirty percent of the 2018 California State Legislature is comprised of women, an increase of 8 percent.
Attendees continued the conversation on social media, using the hashtag #statusofwomen to share Report data and their own thoughts.
"We cannot lift up some women while leaving the most vulnerable out." - Dr. Kimberly Nao on the importance of keeping intersectionality at the forefront of gender equity work. #StatusOfWomen— Las Fotos Project (@lasfotosproject) March 28, 2019
Also according to Dr. Allen: Race trumps smoking as a negative health impact for pregnant women. Black women who don’t smoke have worse outcomes than white women who do, as one example. #BlackLivesMatter #statusofwomen @MSMU_LA pic.twitter.com/JZu55yEDSA— Elisa Camahort Page (@ElisaC) March 28, 2019
Excited to hear @nazumuki of @InvestinPlace lift up work around public transportation and families. Hours of “chain tripping” is the standard for so many parents and an unspoken burden and barrier. #StatusofWomen #First5LA #metro https://t.co/seZU4x4Aza— Katie Kurutz (@KatieKurutz) March 28, 2019