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Mount Saint Mary’s University to Release New Findings on the Cost of Being a Woman in California and Its Effects on our Economy

Thought Leaders Will Share the Impacts of Hidden Labor Costs and Wage and Wealth Gaps on Women’s Lives

Los Angeles, CA, Feb. 28, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Mount Saint Mary’s University will release its 13th annual Report on the Status of Women and Girls in California™ on Friday, March 22 at the Skirball Cultural Center. The event will feature distinguished speakers including New York Times best-selling author, Eve Rodsky; Zakiya Thomas, president and CEO of ERA Coalition and the Fund for Women’s Equality; and psychiatrist and best-selling author, Dr. Pooja Lakshmin, among other experts.

For the past thirteen years, the Center for the Advancement of Women at Mount Saint Mary’s University has produced the most authoritative research on issues impacting women and girls in California. This year’s Report, The Cost of Being a Woman: Solutions for Economic Equity, explores the underlying causes of persistent financial inequalities for women, and highlights opportunities for lasting change to create a more equitable future in our state.

“While we are making strides toward equity in some areas, the Report continues to reveal striking gender gaps,” says Ann McElaney-Johnson, PhD, president of Mount Saint Mary’s University. “Since its inaugural release in 2012, the Report has served as a national benchmark, informing public policy and funding priorities statewide. By working together, we believe we can find solutions to advance gender equity.”

The latest findings reveal a somewhat encouraging trend in the narrowing of the gender earnings gap, improving from 84% to 89% since 2013. However, these numbers only scratch the surface of the challenges women face. Despite this progress, women continue to grapple with substantial financial burdens. On average, they save less than half of what their male counterparts do annually, possess smaller retirement accounts, face a 30% higher out-of-pocket expenditure for medical costs, and bear the weight of unpaid caregiving responsibilities. Key findings are included in the below.

“The lack of pay equity impacts every aspect of a woman’s life, affecting economic stability, health and mental well-being,” says Nicole Haggard, PhD, director of the Center for the Advancement for Women. “This year’s Report will give us a roadmap for necessary improvements. Our goal is to work with community partners and translate this research into actionable initiatives that empower our community to affect real change for women and girls in our state.”

Dr. Haggard is available for interviews to provide insights into the data, contextualize its impact, and discuss actionable strategies for creating a more equitable future for California’s women and girls. For embargoed copies of the report or interview scheduling before the release, kindly contact us.

We extend a warm invitation to attend the Report’s event on March 22. For a full list of speakers and the program, please visit the Report’s page.

2024 Report Data Highlights
Some key findings from this year’s research reveal that:

  • In California, we still have work to do on our gender earnings gap. Median earnings data reveal that California women earn 89% of what all men earn for full time work – an increase of 5% in the over the past decade.
  • The gap is greater for Black and Latina women. Over a 40-year career, compared to White men, White women experience an average earning loss of $731,000; Asian women, $737,000; Black women, $1.6 million; and $2.1 million for Latinas.   
  • The real cost of living in California impacts single women the greatest. More than 1 in 3 households statewide do not earn sufficient income to meet basic needs. And for households headed by single mothers with children under six, this increases to 80% compared to 28% of married couples. 
  • Parents and guardians open fewer “529” tuition savings plans for girls than boys — 39% of U.S. households with girls versus 50% of U.S. households with boys — despite women now making up 60% of college graduates.
  • Nationally, medical treatment costs are higher for women and girls than men and boys. Women pay 30% more out of pocket to cover healthcare expenses compared with men.

ABOUT MOUNT SAINT MARY’S UNIVERSITY
Mount Saint Mary’s is the only women’s university in Los Angeles and one of the most diverse in the nation. The University is known nationally for its research on gender equality, its innovative health and science programs, and its commitment to community service.

As a leading liberal arts institution, Mount Saint Mary’s provides year-round, flexible, and online programs at the undergraduate and graduate level. Weekend, evening, and graduate programs are offered to both women and men. Mount alums are engaged, active global citizens who use their knowledge and skills to better themselves, their communities and the world. Learn more at www.msmu.edu.

ABOUT THE CENTER FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF WOMEN

The Center for the Advancement of Women at Mount Saint Mary’s University is a hub for gender equity research, advocacy, and leadership development. Our vision is to find solutions to persistent gender inequities and work with partners to eradicate them in our lifetime. The Center produces original research, contributes to the national conversation on gender equity, and promotes solutions to reach gender parity. Learn more at www.msmu.edu/caw.


Eva Diaz
Mount Saint Mary's University
424.394.3731
emdiaz@msmu.edu