Los Angeles, CA, March 24, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Mount Saint Mary’s University Los Angeles today released its 11th annual Report on the Status of Women and Girls in California™. This year’s report, “Progress, Regress: Women’s Health Amidst a Pandemic,” assesses the progress, or lack thereof, that California has made in advancing women’s health since we last focused on this topic in 2017.
The Report was developed by MSMU’s Center for the Advancement of Women and is the most comprehensive study focusing on the issues and trends affecting the nearly 20 million women and girls who call California home. Its findings were announced today during a virtual event that gathered leaders from various industries to discuss the toll the pandemic took on women’s health, from chronic conditions and psychological health to preventive care.
“As we continue to emerge from the wake of COVID-19, we’ll need a resilient community of women and men committed to creative and equitable opportunities for everyone,” said Ann McElaney-Johnson, PhD, president of Mount Saint Mary’s. “It is our clarion call to prioritize the health of all Californians and to leverage the lessons learned during the pandemic to ensure a better future for women and girls.“
After a presentation of some of this year’s key findings, Jennifer Moss, award-winning journalist, author and international public speaker, shared insights on how to prevent burnout in the future of work. “In order to continue to thrive and flourish, we need to give ourselves more self-compassion and change the way we look at success, so we can incrementally create more opportunities for future generations of women and girls,” said Moss. “We can leverage this crisis to think about the opportunities to make a positive change in our lives, and this involves organizational change in the workplace,” she added.
An expert panel featuring Deborah Allen (deputy director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health), Paula Helu-Brown (MSMU assistant professor of psychology), Nzinga Graham (physician at Kaiser Permanente) and Shaista Malik (executive director of the Susan Samueli Integrative Health Institute) dived deeper into the data and discussed the intersectionality between health, race, and socioeconomic status. The panelists shared actionable recommendations on how to optimize the wellness of women in the future.
“It is crucial to create systemic change at the policy and workplace level that allows women to actually take care of their physical and emotional wellbeing,” said Helu-Brown.
Some key findings from this year’s research reveal that:
- Emotional well-being of women has decreased. In 2019, 19% of California women reported having been diagnosed with depression. In 2020, 70% of women reported experiencing mild to severe symptoms of anxiety, and more than half reported symptoms of mild to severe depression. The percentage of women and girls who experienced serious psychological distress during the past year was highest among young women ages 13 to 24. One in three young women ages 13 to 24 experienced serious psychological distress.
- Racial disparities in mortality rates persist. African American women are still more likely to die from breast or cervical cancers than Latinas, white or Asian American women. The same is true for pregnancy-related deaths; for example, African American women are roughly six times more likely to die from a pregnancy-related issue than white women.
- Preventive care screenings plummeted, then rebounded. In year one of the pandemic, preventive screenings were down across the board. For instance, cervical cancer screening rates in California decreased by 80%. While rates have not yet returned to pre-pandemic levels, a greater proportion of women have now resumed their preventive care screenings.
A copy of the 2022 Report can be accessed here.
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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.
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. Its vision is to find solutions to persistent gender inequities and work with partners to eradicate those inequities in our lifetime. That goal includes eliminating obstacles that women face in the workplace, in their communities, in the media and beyond to make a positive difference in the lives of women and girls in California and our nation. The Center also creates public programming, research guides and training opportunities to engage more partners in its work.