Women in the workforce in California lack equitable representation in some of the state’s fastest-growing and highest-paying fields, including science, medicine, engineering and technology, according to researchers at Mount Saint Mary’s University in Los Angeles.
The 2018 Report on the Status of Women and Girls in California, authored by the Center for the Advancement of Women at Mount Saint Mary’s University, also underscores how far women lag behind their male colleagues when it comes to equal pay and positions of influence in nearly all industries, according to the center’s director, Emerald Archer.
“The loss is not just theirs,” Archer said. “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.”
According to a university-issued statment, 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.”
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 that men earn.
—Across the state, 5 percent of women who work full-time, and 52 percent of those 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 percent live in poverty.
—California boasts more women-owned businesses (1.55 million) than any other state, and those businesses generate nearly $226 billion in revenue, yet women still lack access to positions of influence in the wider workforce. Women account for 27 percent of top executives in California companies, and just 4 percent 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 percent and 15 percent of the workforce, respectively. The report lists many causes for the disparity, including women’s educational attainment. In 2016, 1 percent of all bachelor’s degrees awarded to women were in computer and information science; 2 percent were awarded to women in engineering.