At Advancing Women’s Careers and Dreams Conference, Garamendi & Experts Discuss Status of Women in the Workplace in 2015
United States Representative John Garamendi, California's 3rd District

DAVIS, CA – On April 17, 2015, Congressman John Garamendi (D-Fairfield, CA) hosted the Advancing Women’s Careers and Dreams Conference in Davis, bringing together experts and dozens of accomplished women in business, non-profits, and public service.

 “In America today, women are taking their rightful place as equals at home, at work, and in the community, but as everyone in this room knows, we haven’t broken the glass ceiling yet,” Congressman Garamendi said. “We need to dismantle the perspective that a rewarding career and a supportive family life are incompatible. When our workplaces have policies that help parents balance their obligations – like equal pay for equal work, paid sick leave, paid parental leave, and more flexible work hours – many more women will pursue their American Dream.”

He added, “Above all else, we need to support policies that help families thrive and encourage students to reach for the stars. Every child deserves a roof over their head, food on the table, and a quality education. I hope every girl in America is taught that she is capable of any career she puts her mind to and works toward.”

Garamendi also introduced many of the women who were chosen as the 3rd District’s Women of the Year in 2014. Nominations for the 2015 Women of the Year will open soon.

Following Garamendi’s remarks, Meg Arnold, a Project Leader for Valley Vision and the former CEO of the Sacramento Regional Technology Alliance, gave her thoughts on women in the workplace in a lecture she called, “Women Mean Business.”

“You have to find people who are willing to think creatively about your degrees and abilities. Plans are good and important but plans will change in ways you can’t imagine. A lot of women I know have earned undergraduate degrees not related to what they are doing today. Your degree does not define you. You need to know yourself, you need to take risks, and stretch yourself,” said Arnold. “You have to grow into the knowledge that you were hired for a reason.”

Kate Karpilow, Ph.D., the Executive Director for the California Center for Research on Women and Families, then presented her findings on women changing corporate culture in a presentation she called, “How Women are Shaping Workforce Policy.”

“Since the 1960s, women’s participation in the workforce has increased dramatically – but many working parents are struggling and stressed out, trying to balance obligations to their families and their jobs. That’s why the recommendations put forth at last year’s Working Families Summit at the White House and in House Minority Leader Pelosi’s agenda ‘When Women Succeed America Succeeds’  were such an important step forward.  These agendas offer policy proposals to support families working, living and loving in the 21st Century.” said Karpilow.

In a third presentation, Dr. Linda F. Bisson, with UC Davis ADVANCE, gave a presentation on “Making the Most of Your Talents.” UC Davis ADVANCE aims to increase the participation and advancement of women in academic science and engineering careers.

UC Davis ADVANCE is a program that is funded by the NSF, an organization that offers funding to not just catalyze the representation of women in STEM but also to effect institutional change by changing how people think about women in the workplace,” said Dr. Bisson. “Times are changing and the world is beginning to recognize that diversity is a smart thing. It’s not just the right thing or the just thing but it’s a smart thing. Countless studies have shown that outcomes are better if you have a diverse group tackling the issue. When we recognize that people aren’t all the same, they will grow, thrive and succeed.”

Dr. Ann Huff Stevens, the Dean of the UC Davis Graduate School of Management, then hosted a moderated discussion with the audience on a broad range of issues facing women in the workplace. She asked attendees to think about ways they bring a valuable and different perspective to their places of employment. She guided the conversation toward strategies to change workplace culture to make it more inclusive and diverse. She also strongly encouraged professional women to mentor young women, and she asked participants to be cognizant of the challenges faced by other underrepresented and disadvantaged groups.

The event concluded with closing remarks by Congressman Garamendi as he was joined by his former District Director Elly Fairclough. Throughout her twenty years of public service, Elly has championed the issues facing women and families today.