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The 2015 Report on the Status on Women and Girls in California

Written by Tamara Murga, Editor-in-Chief


Guests mingle and enjoy refreshments before the event begins.

On March 19, over one thousand people gathered to learn about the 2015 Report on the Status of Women and Girls in California at the Skirball Cultural Center. Mount Saint Mary’s University shared its fourth consecutive Report, covering gender gaps that affect the conditions facing women and girls in California, to educate, inspire, and empower its audience.


The Report, presented by President Johnson said that, “4.4 million women and girls in California are living in poverty.”

The Report came together with the help of several of the university’s partners, including the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, Los Angeles Magazine, The Women’s Foundation of California, City National Bank and many more. President of the university, Ann McElaney-Johnson, opened the event by thanking each partner and the audience for their support and presence.

She shared that, “when women do not earn equal pay…are still bought and sold.. marginalized, denied an education and their basic human rights, we cannot say that our work is done.” Although the event applauded the growth of women achievements, the Report revealed statistics about the omnipresent misrepresentation of women in vital areas ranging from education to leadership roles in the workforce. The push for gender equity continues.


Panel at the event. From left to right: Tess Vigeland, Geena Davis, Rangita de Silva Alwis, and Jane Wurwand

The event followed a stream of inspiring speakers. Each gave their stand on female empowerment, how others have worked toward it, and ways any person, whether male or female, can plant their seed. Several emphasized that the power of one individual is as strong as an organized community or charity.

Among the many speakers, Academy Award-winning actress Geena Davis said that it is important to realize that it is still “very possible to be the first woman or girl to do something somewhere…if they can see it, they can be it.”


Panel at the event. From left to right: Tess Vigeland, Eileen Decker, Surina Khan, and Nancy McFadden

With touching stories of struggle-to-success, creative ways people can help, and statistics that taught the realities of the gender gap, the event concluded with high energy, leaving everyone with a motivated spirit to empower women and girls.


Eric Garcetti, Mayor of Los Angeles

Amy Elain Wakeland, First Lady of Los Angeles

Find out more about the First Lady’s speech.

Sheryl WuDunn, Author of Half the Sky

Find out more about the author’s presentation.

Eileen Decker, Deputy Mayor for Homeland Security and Public Safety for Mayor Eric Garcetti

Surina Khan, CEO of the Women’s Foundation of California

Nancy McFadden, JD, Executive Secretary for Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr.

Tess Vigeland, Award-winning journalist and CEO of Tess Vigeland Productions

Geena Davis, Academy Award-winning actress and founder, The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media at MSMU

Find out more about Davis’ thoughts and goals on women and girl empowerment.

You can check out the 2015 Full Report and Overview at msmu.edu



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