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USC, Shriver to Study Status of Women

USC, Shriver to Study Status of Women
Maria Shriver and Geoffrey Cowan

Award-winning broadcast journalist Maria Shriver, in partnership with USC Annenberg’s Center on Communication Leadership and Policy, the Center on American Progress and Time magazine, is launching an ambitious research project to examine the consequences of women’s more prominent economic status on the institutions that matter most in American life – government, business, faith, education and health.

The last government-directed study, released in 1963, was conducted under the presidency of John F. Kennedy, who appointed Eleanor Roosevelt to chair a commission to report on the status of women.

“A Woman’s Nation” will report its findings to the nation, Congress and President Obama, who signed an executive order to establish a council to coordinate the federal government’s efforts to address the needs of women and girls.

“As a reporter by trade, I look forward to working with our partners to take a factual look at the consequences of today’s economic realities,” Shriver said. “The world has changed dramatically since my uncle launched his commission in 1961, and the fact is we need a new portrait of the American woman so we can better understand what she needs to be successful in this complicated world,” Shriver said.

Cinny Kennard, senior fellow at the Center on Communication Leadership and Policy, and faculty fellow Stacy Smith will assist with research development and also participate in the presentation of roundtables and interviews with icons of the women’s movement and other prominent leaders.

“The project is timely and needed to reveal the status of American women in the 21st century,” Smith said. “The research also will uncover those institutions, cultural practices and policies that are still in need of shape shifting and transformation to meet the needs of and facilitate change in the lives of girls and women in the U.S.”

Lou and Polly Cowan, the parents of Center on Communication Leadership and Policy director Geoffrey Cowan, participated in the 1963 commission proceedings as it examined portrayals of women in the media.

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