Gender study highlights pay gap between L.A. men and women

(Thinkstock)
(Thinkstock)

Many women living in the city of Los Angeles earn a wage that roughly equals 84 cents for every dollar their male counterparts earn, according to a report released today on the status of women in the city.

According to the study prepared by Mount St. Mary’s University at the request of the city, female residents age 16 and over earn a median annual salary of $25,557, compared to the $30,399 a year earned by men. But for those with full-time, year-round jobs, the gender pay gap narrows to 97 cents earned by women to each dollar men earn.

That wage disparity for Los Angeles is smaller than at the county, state and national levels, according to the report.

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The demographic and leadership portions of the report were released today, with three more sections — on economic and workforce development, public safety and veterans — expected to follow in the next three months.

The report shows women and girls make up 1.9 million of the city’s 3.8 million residents. Los Angeles has a higher rate of unmarried women than at the county, state and national levels.

While this can “represent an empowering choice,” more single-mother- led households experience a higher rate of financial hardship.

The report notes that “one of the city’s greatest challenges will be to address the stark gap in economic security” between married-couple families – – which have a 12 percent poverty rate — and single-mother families with children under age 5 that have a 49 percent poverty rate.

The report also shows a quarter of women age 25 and over in Los Angeles do not have high school degrees, compared with 13 percent nationwide. More than 72 percent of Los Angeles women and girls are people of color, and 48 percent of Angeleno women are Latina, the report said.

Researchers also looked at women’s status in terms of leadership, and found that 80 percent of candidates for city elected office are men, and just one of the 18 city elected offices is held by a woman. The rate of women winning elections, however, is the same as men, according to the report.

“In Los Angeles, we see that women win elected office at similar rates to their prevalence as candidates,” according to the report. “In order for Los Angeles to elect more women to public office, more women in Los Angeles need to run for office in primary elections.”

The report notes that “many women are already serving on neighborhood councils” and recommends that the city “provide leadership programs within the neighborhood council framework that help prepare women to run for larger, citywide offices in the future.”

City commissions do a little better on the gender-parity goal, with 54 percent of the board members being women and none of the panels being all-male.

Of the four deputy mayors in Mayor Eric Garcetti’s office, three are women.

Garcetti also appointed 12 department heads since becoming mayor, six of whom are women, according to the report.

Female city employees, who represent less than one-third of the municipal work force, earn 83 cents for every dollar made by male city workers, the report found. Female city employees do 78 percent of the administrative and 40 percent of professional jobs, while tilling just 2 percent of skilled craft positions.

“Our city only succeeds if everyone has an equal shot at success,” Garcetti said upon the release of the report. “For too long, our women and girls have been left behind and counted out, and I want Los Angeles to lead in employing and empowering women.”

He said the report is the “first of its kind” and provides “important information that will help us develop a plan of attack to address gender inequality and the issues affecting women in our city, which will improve our overall economy and quality of life.”

Mount St. Mary’s President Ann McElaney-Johnson said “it’s in our DNA” as a women’s college to do this study, which is aimed at making sure there is “equal and full opportunity for women everywhere.”

“As a member of the Los Angeles community, Mount St. Mary’s University is honored to provide vital research that helps the mayor and his administration in the pursuit of gender equity for the nearly 2 million women and girls here in our hometown,” she said.