New Report, new findings During the Report's public release on Thursday, KCET's Madeleine Brand moderated conversations with pioneers from the fields of education, business and advocacy.Panelist Maria Gutierrez Ott noted the Report's data confirming that women and girls remain underrepresented in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers. She said changing those statistics requires attention at a much earlier stage: "Getting girls turned onto science begins in preschool," said Ott, Executive in Residence at the University of Southern California's School of Education. In a conversation on health and safety, Kay Buck — executive director of the Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking (CAST) — noted that this year's Report illustrates how Los Angeles has become a primary destination of human trafficking. In the last two years, California has identified nearly 1,300 victims. "Human trafficking is modern-day slavery," Buck said. "And traffickers have learned that people here don't know their neighbors as well as they used to. So they can get away with it." A sampling of other key findings from the 2013 Report on the Status of Women and Girls:
- The pay gap between working women and men in California is real, with the sharpest discrepancies found in health- and business-related fields.
- 2013 marks a historic year for the number of women serving in the U.S. Congress, but California women lost ground in political leadership roles at the state level.
- More than two out of every five women and girls in California have been victims of intimate partner violence.
- Access to healthcare continues to rise and infant mortality rates have dropped to historic lows. Yet African-American babies continue to die at rates 2.3 times that of white babies.
- Women comprise 8 percent of California's veteran population — more than any other state — yet California also has one of the highest rates of homeless female veterans.
- In a media-rich state, the role of women in media remains far too limited. Women are underrepresented behind the camera, for instance, at a rate of nearly 5-to-1.