Take Two

News and culture through the lens of Southern California. Hosted by A Martínez

3 ways the landscape is changing for women in LA

by KPCC Staff | Take Two

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In this file photo, United Way President & CEO Elise Buik speaks at Budweiser Made In America Press Conference at Los Angeles City Hall on April 16, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. A new report from United Way delves into the shifting demographics, education levels and outlook for women in L.A. County. Buik joined Take Two to discuss the report's findings. Michael Buckner/Getty Images for Budweiser

Women in Los Angeles County are 5 million strong. Some own businesses, others are unemployed. Some are healthy, others sick. Some live in spectacular homes, while others have no idea where they will sleep tonight.

A new report out Monday delves into the shifting demographics, education levels and outlook for women in L.A. County.

The report was released by United Way LA in conjunction with a summit planned for Monday night in Beverly Hills.

Here’s a quick look at what UWLA found:

1. LA’s women are increasingly Latina

Latinas make up a larger percentage of the women — in particular younger women — in Los Angeles County.

“In terms of demographics, nearly half of the county’s women are Latinas. So we are seeing a shift in the population in terms of ethnicity,” United Way spokeswoman Taulene Kagan told KPCC.

Kagan said that poses a new challenge, as Latinas are less likely to graduate from high school and attend college, which could make it more difficult for them to raise their wages and become more independent.

 

“If Latinas are going to be a majority of the population, we do have a challenge in front of us, because they also statistically-showing have the least amount of high school graduates,” she said. “So that’s a concern and something we want to talk about.”

But there is some good news: the report finds Latinas in L.A. have made great strides in preparing for college over the last decade.

 

2. Women at all education levels are still being being paid less than men

The report found that across the income spectrum, L.A. women are still paid less for the work they do. In fact, when comparing women’s income to men’s, women who haven’t graduated high school make only slightly less proportionally (71 percent of what men earn) than women who attained a graduate-level education or above (75 percent).

 

Still, the report found higher levels of education corresponded to higher income and a better chance at escaping poverty.

“Education is critical. Higher education provides the income,” Kagan said. “If you have, say, less than a high school education, you’re going to fall below the poverty level. And we’re seeing 46 percent of women who have less than a high school education [and live in L.A. County] are in extreme poverty…compared to 10 percent of college graduates.”

3. Women are finding work in nontraditional industries

The report finds that women in L.A. County have increasingly gained a foothold in industries where they have traditionally not been employed.

“We’re seeing this transition into these male-dominated industries,” said Kagan. “And that is surprising, and that was a new finding.”

Some professions that were traditionally male are now dominated by women, Kagan added.

“For example, we now have 55 percent of pharmacists are women, compared to 5 percent in 1970,” she said. “Sixty percent of accountants are women compared to 25 percent back in 1970.”

Elise Buik, CEO of United Way LA, joins Take Two to talk more about the report, which you can read below:

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