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New research out of Mount Saint Mary’s University shines a light on persistent gender inequities in California’s workforce

LOS ANGELES,  — A new report reveals that Californiawomen in the workforce lack equitable representation in some of the state’s fastest-growing and highest-paying fields, including in science, medicine, engineering and technology. The research also underscores how far women lag behind their male colleagues when it comes to equal pay and positions of influence in nearly all industries.

The 2018 Report on the Status of Women and Girls in California™ was authored by the Center for the Advancement of Women at Mount Saint Mary’s University in Los Angeles. The Center’s research examines why certain obstacles and biases continue to undermine professional opportunities for California’s women.

“The loss is not just theirs,” says Emerald Archer, PhD, director of the Center and the Report’s editor in chief. “California’s communities and economies suffer, too, when half of the workforce is not achieving its full economic potential due to pay, wealth and policy inequities.”

In the Report, Archer’s team explored issues ranging from occupational sex segregation and gender typing to sexual harassment in the workplace, family-friendly employment policies and the ever-stubborn gender wage gap. In addition to raw data and trends, the Report also supplies context and identifies some of the driving forces that help explain why gender bias persists in the workforce.

Among the Report’s key findings:

  • California women are more economically insecure than men. Women working full time and year-round make 88 cents for every dollar men earn. Those low earnings mean less savings, too. California women as a whole own just 32 cents for every dollar men own.
  • Across the state, 5% of women who work full time, and 52% of women working part time still don’t make enough to exceed the federal poverty level. Of the 800,000 California households headed by single mothers, 38% live in poverty.
  • California boasts more women-owned businesses (1.55 million) than any other state, and these businesses generate nearly $226 billion in revenue. However, women still lack access to positions of influence in the wider workforce. Women account for 27% of top executives in Californiacompanies, and just 4% of the state’s top 400 publicly traded companies have a female CEO.
  • Women remain underrepresented in STEM fields, especially in technology and engineering, where California women account for 21% and 15% of the workforce, respectively. The Report notes many causes for this disparity, including women’s educational attainment. In 2016, just 1% of all bachelor’s degrees awarded to women were in computer and information science; a mere 2% were awarded to women in engineering.

These results and more were discussed at a public event on March 22 in Los Angeles that brought more than 800 women together to hear panels led by high-profile female leaders of industry (from places like Netflix, Bloomberg, Lyft, the U.S. Department of Labor and more) who are attempting to reverse the data on women in the workforce. The event concluded with a conversation on equality in Hollywood, featuring Academy Award-winning actor Geena Davis and writer-producer Erika Green Swafford.

To learn more about the event and to read the Report, visit msmu.edu/statusofwomen. The site includes a gender parity dashboard that tracks California’s progress, or lack thereof, in key areas over the past decade. A companion anthology, called Collectif, is also online. The anthology includes related original research and essays conducted by Mount Saint Mary’s faculty and students, covering topics such as women in entertainment, women’s re-entry to civilian life post-incarceration, and the impact of mentoring relationships on first-generation Latina graduate students.

SOURCE Mount Saint Mary’s University

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Rod Washington

Rod is a blogger, writer, filmmaker, photographer, daydreamer who likes to cook. Rod produces and directs the web series, CUPIC: Diary of an Investigator. He is also the editor, producer and administrator of TNC Network.