LOS ANGELES — To stand up for their communities, their families and their futures, women must first stand up for themselves.
This is one of the key takeaways from the release of the 2017 Report on the Status of Women and Girls in California, a comprehensive compilation of current research focusing on the issues and trends affecting California’s 19.7 million women and girls.
Each year, a public event highlights the year’s key findings and generates discussions among policymakers, experts and community leaders. On March 23, Mount Saint Mary’s convened a forum on women’s health and wellness that showcased local and national experts dedicated to ensuring the physical, mental and spiritual health of women and girls everywhere.
“To take advantage of the opportunities ahead of us, and to rise up to the challenges, we must be healthy, strong and resilient,” University President Ann McElaney-Johnson said. “Resiliency is key to our ability as women to care for ourselves and the communities we serve. Research indicates that health, energy and resilience are deeply intertwined with successful leadership. As a university that prepares leaders, we understand this.”
Academy Award-winner Geena Davis, founder of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media at Mount Saint Mary’s University, also spoke, noting that unconscious gender bias can be seen on screen, too.
“We learn our value by seeing ourselves reflected in the culture,” Davis said. “So, if female characters are one-dimensional, or sidelined, or stereotyped, or hypersexualized on screen — or not there at all — what are we saying to kids? We are teaching kids that women and girls are less important.”
Following a pair of health and wellness panels, Emmy-winning reporter and producer Maria Shriver moderated an Architects of Change conversation with Academy Award-winner and goop founder Gwyneth Paltrow, and Dr. Roberta Brinton, director of the Center for Innovation in Brain Science at the University of Arizona Health Sciences.
To download an overview of the report, click here. To read this year’s Report on the Status of Women and Girls in California in full, visit msmu.edu/statusofwomen. The report is created annually by the faculty of Mount Saint Mary’s University, and published by the University’s Center for the Advancement of Women.
On April 8, Mount Saint Mary’s will once again take action on its own report, by hosting Ready to Run, a nonpartisan campaign training program for women. Women currently account for 22 percent of seats in the California State Legislature and 19 percent of the U.S. Congress. This year’s Ready to Run training will include a keynote talk by former U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer.