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Wage gap between white women and women of color persists in Santa Monica, according to new report

Teddy Rosenbluth

Daily Press intern

Women in Santa Monica make 78 cents for every dollar earned by a man, according to a report released last week by the Santa Monica Commission on the Status of Women.

This is an improvement from 2013, when women earned 72 cents for every dollar earned by men, but still slightly lower than the national average, according to recent data from the US Census Bureau. When compared to white men, women made 69 cents to every dollar.

Although there has been an increase in diversity among women since 2015, the wage gap between white women and women of color persists. Full-time Latina workers made only 44 cents for every dollar earned by a man and about $30,000 less than white women annually. Asian women made about $12,000 more annually.

Furthermore, while women made up a little more than half of the population in Santa Monica, they made up only 31% of the jobs in the city’s growing technology sector. However, they comprised 53% of the workforce in service occupations, such as waitressing and cleaning.

Three in 10 women living in Santa Monica were born outside of the United States and the data shows a steady decline since 2000. The demographics of these women have also shifted as the percent of immigrants from Europe dropped while the percentage of Asian and Latin American immigrants increased.

More than 7,000 mothers with children under 18 lived in Santa Monica, 59% of whom were employed. 95% of single mothers in Santa Monica with children under 18 were employed.

Aggravated assault, a crime that disproportionately affects women, rose by 67% between 2016 and 2017 and reported rapes, of which 75% involved female victims, increased by 27%. Overall violent crime rates in Santa Monica increased 108% between 2014 and 2017, but have since decreased. In the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School district, 8% of students reported harassment due to their actual or perceived sexual orientation.

On average, women reported higher stress levels and more economic concerns than men in Santa Monica. Local women said they were concerned about increased crime, dissatisfaction with homeless services and traffic issues.

Women living in the Pico and Mid-City area reported the lowest satisfaction with their lives, one of the highest rates of poverty and many paid 35% or more of their income on rent. Housing prices in the city have steadily increased, now placing the median home value at $1,170,000.

Women make up 23% of the homeless population in Santa Monica. Those not living in shelters, which have approximately one bed for every three homeless individuals, live downtown.

Although there was not concrete data on student homelessness, the report estimates as many as 10% students at Santa Monica College and 19% of students at Los Angeles Community College District could be homeless.

Despite these hardships, some aspects of life for women have improved.

The 7,900 women-owned businesses made an annual revenue of $1.26 billion, although the overall economic impact of these businesses in the city was relatively small. Only 14% of women-owned businesses in 2012 had paid employees, compared to 28% owned by men.

Younger women in the city also seemed to have higher levels of formal education than older generations. 76% of women under 45 had at least a bachelor’s degree while, of the women older than 65, 57% had college degrees. Furthermore, girls in SMMUSD schools had a higher graduation than the California average and their male peers.