MSMU Releases 12th Annual Report on Status of Women and Girls in California

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Mount Saint Mary's University hopes to motivate and to push for change in legislation through an annual report released Wednesday that highlights research about issues affecting women and girls in the state post-pandemic.

The 12th annual Report on the Status of Women and Girls in California includes trends in women's education, economic security, wage and wealth gaps, gender division of household labor and health.

"We really ask people to read through it and think about how can they look through these statistics and the data, and what can they do with that data within their own fields, within their own circles," MSMU President Ann McElaney-Johnson told City News Service. "I think that we can make some progress, but we have to do it together."

Having seen the annual reports over the years, she added that she wasn't too surprised that some of the data remained constant for women, including how education continues to come up as a pathway for greater financial security and the disparity of wage and wealth.

Key elements listed in this year's report include:

-- Median earnings increased by 14% from 2019 to 2021 for California women working full-time and by 9% for women working part-time, with the earnings substantially varying by ethnicity. The median earnings for full-time working white women equaled $73,059, with $40,524 for Latina women.

-- More women have reported the flexibility of being able to work remotely, with an increase from 1 in 14 in 2019 to 1 in 3 in 2021.

-- California had the largest number of women-owned businesses (1.5 million) in the United States and 36% of California's privately owned businesses with paid employees were owned by women.

-- The poverty rate was 21% for a woman-headed household with no spouse present, 29% if she had children, 34% if she didn't have a high school degree, and dropped to 10% if she had bachelor's degree or higher, which is 37% of California women 25 years or older.

-- Mothers who report having primary responsibility for housework comprised 77%, and 61% had primary responsibility for child care.

-- Black mothers are four times more likely than white mothers to die from pregnancy-related causes, and Black babies are twice more likely than white babies to die.

"We hope that our report will be used by legislators and really helping think through `How do we address those issues?,' because if we leave things as they are we are really impacting the future generations," McElaney- Johnson told CNS. "We really need policies that are going to address those systemic inequities that are limiting people's choices."

The report will be discussed in more detail at the Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 North Sepulveda Blvd., at 10 a.m. Wednesday, according to university officials. The report and livestream for the event can be found at women/events/status-of-women-and-girls/.

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