Los Angeles, March 28, 2014 – Mount Saint Mary’s University yesterday issued its 2014 Report on the Status of Women and Girls in California.
For the first time, the Report includes an in-depth comparison between
the more than 19 million women and girls living in California and the 5
million-plus females living in Los Angeles County.
The Report, which is available at statusofwomen.msmu.edu,
was released during a public forum at the College's Doheny Campus. A
crowd of nearly 1,000 heard from speakers such as Constance Rice,
co-founder of the Advancement Project, award-winning national journalist
Tess Vigeland, and Academy Award winner Geena Davis.
equality is not just a women's issue. It is a human issue, and it is an
economic issue that is key to the vitality of our state," said Mount
Saint Mary’s University President Ann McElaney-Johnson. "Only by pulling
together disparate data can we see a complete picture of the current
challenges facing women and girls – particularly those of color – in Los
Angeles County and California."
the event, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti announced, via video message, a new
research partnership between the City of Los Angeles and Mount Saint
"A key part of my
‘Back to Basics' agenda is to make City Hall a place where decisions are
based on data, and we track progress with concrete metrics," said
Garcetti. "I'm pleased to announce that the City of Los Angeles is
partnering with Mount Saint Mary’s University to develop a series of
briefs that will provide data on women and girls specific to our city
that will better enable my administration to identify the greatest needs
and prioritize our work to address them."
St. Mary's research faculty will develop reports profiling Los Angeles'
female population, focusing on demographics, leadership, workforce
development, public safety and veterans.
Geena Davis, who is also the founder of the Geena Davis Institute on
Gender in Media at Mount Saint Mary’s University, addressed the issue of
gender equality in the television industry.
– and men – of color continue to be extremely underrepresented on
television. An overwhelming 85 percent of all primary characters were
white and 80 percent of all secondary characters were white," said
Davis, who also serves as chair of the California Commission on the
Status of Women and Girls. "This rate of ethnic representation on
television still does not reflect the current and increasing diversity
of the United States."
moderated two panel sessions focusing on the socio-economic challenges
facing the region's female population and public policy perspectives on
closing gender gaps.
Many of the
conversations focused on the interconnectedness of issues facing women.
Dr. Susie Baldwin, chief of the health assessment unit at the Los
Angeles County Department of Public Health, called poverty the most
important health-related issue for women in the nation's most populous
county: "People may think poverty is an economic issue, it's a social
issue, but is it really a health issue? Yes, it is. If we could lift
people out of poverty we would eliminate a lot of the health disparities
that we see."
Somjita Mitra, an
economist with the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation,
stated that the wage gap is costing the Los Angeles economy about $6
billion. "If we were able to close the wage gap around the nation for
all full-time, working women, that would increase our national GDP by
2.9 percent, which would give our economy $450 billion." That is about
14 times what the state and federal government spent in 2012 on the
Temporary Assistance to Needy Families Act.
Helen Boutrous, chair of Mount St. Mary's History and Political Science
department, highlighted several key challenges that are identified in
this year's Report on the Status of Women and Girls in California:
Other panelists and speakers included: Erika Anderson, publisher of Los Angeles magazine; Vicky Brown, founder, Idomeneo Enterprises, Inc., and board president, National Association of Women Business Owners, Los Angeles chapter; Ana Guerrero, chief of staff to L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti; Kelly Jenkins-Pultz, program analyst, U.S. Department of Labor, Women's Bureau; Sheila Kuehl, former California state senator, founding director of Santa Monica College's Public Policy Institute.
About Mount Saint Mary’s University
Mount Saint Mary’s University offers a dynamic learning experience in
the liberal arts and sciences. The only women's college in Los Angeles,
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.
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