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Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti prepares to sign Executive Directive No. 11, a call for "Gender Equity in City Operation." The directive was inspired, in part, by the research conducted by Mount Saint Mary's University in the first-ever Report on the Status of Women and Girls in Los Angeles.

University’s research helps drive gender equality in Los Angeles

Research conducted by Mount Saint Mary’s is helping to spur gender equality efforts across the University’s hometown of Los Angeles.

In 2014, the Los Angeles City Commission on the Status of Women asked Mount Saint Mary’s faculty researchers to assess how L.A. women and girls are faring in five distinct areas: demographics, leadership, veterans’ services, education and workforce development, and public safety.

The final findings from the Report on the Status of Women and Girls in Los Angeles were released Aug. 26, 2015, on Women’s Equality Day. And the study has already helped to effect change in the Mount’s hometown, thanks to an executive directive issued by L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti, acting on information revealed in the University’s research.

“The recently released Report on the Status of Women and Girls in the City of Los Angeles confirms that the women and girls of our City have been measurably disadvantaged,” Garcetti wrote in his directive. “Whether it be social expectations, professional compensation or economic opportunities, too often women and girls face undue obstacles. As a City, we have a responsibility to ensure that City operations reflect and address the needs of all people.”

Mayor Garcetti’s Executive Directive No. 11 calls on city departments to fully implement the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), which the City adopted in 2004.

The directive also creates a Gender Equity Coalition, made up of liaisons from each city department, that will work to promote gender equity throughout Los Angeles, including women from particularly vulnerable groups such as women living with HIV/AIDS, undocumented women, women of color, transgender women, seniors and young women and girls.

Mount Saint Mary’s was well equipped to take on this important work thanks to the Mount’s experience in creating annual statewide Reports on the Status of Women and Girls in California™. For the Los Angeles study, former provost and professor emerita Eleanor Siebert, PhD, led the University’s research team.

“We were honored to work with the Los Angeles City Commission on the Status of Women to create this report,” says Mount Saint Mary’s President Ann McElaney-Johnson. “We are motivated to produce this type of research because as a women’s university, we need to be asking critical questions about women’s leadership, health and economic well-being — especially here in our own hometown where many of our students and alums live, work and contribute to their communities.”

The first two parts of the report were released earlier this year, during Women’s History Month. On Women’s Equality Day, this August, the final three parts of the report were publicly released during an event at the Getty House. There, L.A. First Lady Amy Elaine Wakeland offered a summary of the research’s key findings and explained the project’s significance.

“We are here to celebrate the release of the final three parts of the Mount Saint Mary’s Report on the Status of Woman and Girls in Los Angeles,” Wakeland said. “This is the first study of its kind in the city of Los Angeles…and this report provides a starting point that can help us address the issues that most seriously impact women and girls in Los Angeles.”

The Report on the Status of Women and Girls in Los Angeles was published in partnership with the Los Angeles Mayor’s Office and commissioned by the Los Angeles City Commission on the Status of Women. Among the key findings from the final three parts of the report:

L.A. Veterans:
In Los Angeles, female veterans are more diverse and younger than their male counterparts. Fifty-six percent of female veterans are people of color, compared with 47% of male veterans. Twenty-five percent of female veterans are under the age of 35, compared with 9% of male veterans.

Education & Workforce Development:
Twenty-five percent of L.A.’s women currently lack a high school degree. An additional 20% have a high school degree but no additional educational attainment.

Public Safety:
In 2014, women comprised 19% of the Los Angeles Police Department’s approximately 10,000 police officers. Out of 3,244 total firefighting positions in 2014, women made up just under 3% of the Los Angeles Fire Department’s force of firefighters.

The research is available in full online at http://www.msmu.edu/statusofwomen. To read Mayor Garcetti’s executive directive that was inspired by the University’s report, visit http://www.lamayor.org/mayor_garcetti_s_executive_directives.

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