This year’s virtual unveiling of the Report on the Status of Women and Girls in California™ brought together a powerhouse of thought leaders to discuss women’s unique challenges as well as how to mitigate the pandemic’s long-term impacts on gender equity. The 10th edition of the Report, was released on March 31 in conjunction with the event, “Women and the Pandemic: Impact, Resilience and Moving Forward.”
“With this year’s report, our goal is to call out how the pandemic has affected the welfare of, and the opportunities for, our state’s women and girls,” said Emerald Archer, PhD, director, Center for the Advancement of Women. “This research also reveals that recent gains were wiped out in 2020 and explores what the longer-lasting effects of this pandemic may be in the year to come.”
Following Archer’s opening remarks, Nury Martinez, Los Angeles City Council president, addressed the hardships brought on by COVID-19 — especially for women of color — and called for bold changes in the workplace, making it more equitable for women.
Maria Hinojosa, anchor/executive producer of Latino USA, NPR, and founder of Futuro Media, moderated the first panel, titled “The Pandemic: Women on the Front Lines, in the Workforce and at Home.” Panelists included Archer; New York Times reporter Alisha Haridasani Gupta; Mekala Krishnan, PhD, a partner at McKinsey Global Institute; and Maria Prados, PhD, USC economist.
The speakers shared candid stories of their own pandemic-related challenges, touching on overarching themes of mental health, the burden of childcare and the challenges of working from home. Discussions focused on career setbacks as increasing numbers of women turn down advancement opportunities or consider leaving the workforce due to added caretaking responsibilities. Presenters also acknowledged the difficulties many women will encounter recovering their careers post-pandemic.
After the panel, Michaela Pereira, anchor for Good Day LA, and Jane Wurwand, founder, FOUND/LA, addressed the importance of supporting small, local businesses in a session titled “In Conversation: The Power of Women Entrepreneurs in LA.”
According to Wurwand, these “invisible entrepreneurs are the glue of our community,” yet they do not receive funding. She called for the community to lift them up and show them support. One way to do this, said Wurwand, is to think about where you shop. She urged women to forego shopping at big-box stores and online in favor of shopping at local stores in their communities.
The event drew to a close with a final panel, “Making HERstory: How the All-Female LA County Board of Supervisors Are Leading the Way.” The discussion featured three of the five supervisors on the LA County Board of Supervisors: Kathryn Barger, Sheila James Kuehl and Holly Mitchell.
According to these women, being on an all-female board has allowed them to put egos aside and work together collaboratively and decisively for the good of their constituents. The session, hosted by Hinojosa, touched on the hot-topic issues of healthcare, homelessness, unemployment and childcare. The panelists acknowledged that women have suffered disproportionately as a result of the pandemic and vowed to rebuild a city that will serve them better than before.
Despite the challenges of the past year, speakers expressed gratitude for the chance to slow down and spend time with family. The pervasive message of the morning was one of hope: Women are resilient, and when they band together there’s nothing they can’t achieve.
Resources from our website
Read the report
Watch the entire recording of the 2021 event
Find specific segments of the event to view (scroll more than halfway down the page and look for segments under the heading "2021 Virtual Events")
Check out our Report-related media coverage
President Ann McElaney-Johnson interview on Good Day LA (6:30)
President Ann McElaney-Johnson interview on KNBC (3:24)
Emerald Archer, director for The Center for the Advancement of Women, in an interview with Alex Cohen of Spectrum 1
CalMatters quoted Emerald Archer, director for the Center for the Advancement of Women, on the Report
The Report is referenced in a story about the state legislature passing a bill to help displaced workers