New Database Tracks Women's Wellness Across California

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The nonprofit California Budget and Policy Center has launched a new database detailing how California women are faring in a variety of areas. Among the categories it drills into are health, economic security and political empowerment.

For example, want to know what child care costs? A typical single mother with a baby and a school-age child will put nearly 45 percent of her income toward it in Sonoma County. But right next door in Mendocino, it’ll take about 92 percent.

Surina Khan is CEO of the Women’s Foundation of California, which took part in the project. She says the data put a spotlight on the challenges women are facing.

“Women are not adequately represented in leadership positions," she says. "Women are dealing with issues around the wage gap, around not being able to afford child care.”

Khan says those issues come into stark relief when illustrated on a map of California. For instance, when a user calls up the data on women representatives in the Legislature, much of the state is covered in red -- indicating areas with no female representatives. Khan says she hopes the database helps address some of those issues.

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"It's the first tool of its kind in California where there's data available for all 58 counties," she says. "That means that policymakers, either at the state level or at the county level, can look at the data and try to understand it. And it will help inform, I hope, good policy."

Kahn says the database will also be helpful for advocates and fundraisers trying to gather support for their causes.