Leading by Example
At Mount St. Mary‘s College, we have the privilege of educating young women. In publishing this Report, we also assume the responsibility of preparing our students to address the challenges and inequalities these findings reveal. And if we truly hope to inspire our students to affect change, we must lead by example. Read below to learn how Mount St. Mary‘s is addressing key findings from this year‘s Report on the Status of Women and Girls in California™.
Building leadership skills and fostering a spirit of service among the College‘s students are twin goals laid out in Mount St. Mary‘s mission statement. It‘s why the Mount has a Women‘s Leadership Program, Women‘s Leadership Conference and Invitation to Serve volunteer project.
Mount St. Mary‘s helps students, alums and women from the community to build leadership skills through Ready to Run™, a nonpartisan campaign-training program designed to encourage and prepare women to run for public office. The Mount is the Southern California provider of Ready to Run™, in partnership with Rutgers University‘s Center for American Women and Politics. At the national level, women comprise less than 20% of the U.S. Congress; in California, women make up only 26% of the state‘s Legislature. Mount St. Mary‘s is also one of eight women‘s colleges supporting The Women in Public Service Project. The project, part of the Wilson Center, is identifying and educating a new generation of women committed to public service on a global level.
The leadership gap exists in the business world, too. Of the state‘s Fortune 400 companies, only 3% are headed by women CEOs and only 10.5% include a female board director. Thanks to the Mount‘s mission as a college primarily educating women, 80% of Mount St. Mary‘s MBA graduates are women, compared to 46% nationally. The College‘s Business Administration department has also created the Vantage Point speaker series, which brings in high-profile women business owners to share stories and advice with students.
On Education and Employment
In a state where Latina girls make up 52% of K-12 students, the Mount enrolls a far greater proportion of Latinas ? 51.6% of undergraduates ? than the national average of 12.5%.
One of the most glaring career gaps for women is in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). To help bridge the gap, the College has received a $6 million federal grant specifically to enhance curricula and support for Hispanic, female and low-income students pursuing STEM disciplines. To prepare more young women for legal careers, the College‘s all-women‘s mock trial and moot court teams have won numerous individual and team awards at competitions that serve as training grounds for students considering law school.
The Mount also offers a Weekend College that enables working women and men to pursue higher education. And Mount St. Mary‘s Center for Cultural Fluency provides resources for teaching cultural diversity and social justice in the classroom.
In a media-rich state like California, far too few women work in news media, television and film. The College‘s Film, Media and Social Justice program has developed new degree paths, minors and emphases, all of which are offered in a woman-centered environment. The program‘s social justice elements help to prepare socially-minded female writers, producers and directors for careers in media and entertainment. Most recently, the Mount created a combination major in journalism and new media.
Mount St. Mary‘s launched California‘s first-ever Bachelor of Science in Nursing program 60 years ago. Today, the Mount graduates more than 300 nurses annually, and promotes strong leadership roles for women in healthcare organizations. The Mount provides three different degree levels: associate, bachelor‘s, and master‘s. The College‘s healthcare policy major trains students on both the science and politics of healthcare, and prepares students to advocate for better overall health services for women.
The root of so much poverty remains tied to education. In California, the poverty rate for women and girls is 18%. Of all women in poverty in the state, only 12% have a college degree. Mount St. Mary‘s is dedicated to providing access to higher education for qualified, capable women of potential, and does so through a $28 million scholarship fund.
The Mount has also partnered with the MyCollege Foundation to create Portmont College at Mount St. Mary‘s, which offers a new, affordable model for higher education. The initial MyCollege Foundation concept was developed at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Portmont College at Mount St. Mary‘s will provide high-quality, transfer-level, blended associate degrees to students who have the desire but lack the means to pursue a more traditional college path.
Two glaring statistics included in this year‘s Report reveal that 41% of all California women and girls have been victims of intimate partner violence, and 18% have been raped at some point in their lives. A newly developed Criminology major is creating new opportunities for the College‘s students to study how violent crime intersects with families and communities.
On Women in the Military
Women make up 8% of California‘s veteran population, more than any other state. Last year, Mount St. Mary‘s broadened its support for military-related students, faculty and staff. The College revamped its reintegration process for veterans returning to school, and created a new repository of veterans‘ services and resources on the Mount‘s website.
A Call to Action
We hope this Report will inspire all Californians to take action and help address the inequalities that still face our state‘s sisters, mothers, daughters and wives. Volunteer. Mentor. Advocate. Be a voice in empowering California‘s women and girls to pursue all they are capable of being. Whether you support one of our College‘s events or programs detailed above, connect with one of our community partners and affiliates listed in the back of the Report, or take action otherwise, we thank you for getting involved.