OC Supervisor Katrina Foley Hosts Roundtable on Status of Women and Girls in Orange County

ORANGE COUNTY, CALIFORNIA — Yesterday, Orange County Supervisor Katrina Foley hosted her Roundtable on the Status of Women and Girls with local women leaders in government, education, public health, labor, and more. Guests included women of all ages from seniors in high school to seniors in life. As part of Women's History Month, the roundtable discussion focused on initiatives, areas of concern, or gaps in services as it relates to women and girls in Orange County. 

"As the only woman serving on the Board of Supervisors, I understand the unique challenges women and girls face on a daily basis,” said Supervisor Foley. “Our discussion welcomed the perspectives of women from all walks of life, from high school and college students to established community leaders to older adults. Together, we found the county and our partners must continue prioritizing mental health and wellness while expanding economic mobility for women by creating more quality low-cost childcare options, and supporting education, training, and advancement of women in high earning professions and trades. As the first of quarterly discussions, I look forward to maintaining our progress to ensure women and girls can live equitably in Orange County.” 

Group at Roundtable on Status of Women and Girls in Orange County  

Group at Roundtable on Status of Women and Girls in Orange County

The roundtable discussion focused on concerns surrounding mental health, workforce development, economic disparities, education, childcare availability, and health aging for older adults.  

Media may access photos from the event here courtesy of the Office of Orange County Supervisor Katrina Foley. 

Participants in the roundtable from all across Orange County included: 

  • First 5 Orange County CEO Kim Goll 
  • Regina Chinsio-Kwong, OC Healthcare Agency 
  • Girl Scouts Orange County CEO Vikki Shepp 
  • Girls, Inc. Program Director Emerald Archer 
  • Mayor of Irvine Farrah Khan 
  • Laguna Niguel Mayor Pro Tem Stephanie Oddo 
  • La Palma City Council Member Janet Keo Conklin 
  • Cypress City Council Member Frances Marquez, Ph.D. 
  • The Office of Senator Catherine Blakespear 
  • Newport-Mesa Unified President Carol Crane 
  • Newport Mesa Unified Trustee Ashley Anderson  
  • Orange County Labor Federation Executive Director Gloria Alvarado 
  • Planned Parenthood Public Affairs Advocacy Manager Emily Escobar
  • Alzheimer's OC Vice President and D5 OC Senior Citizens Advisory Council Appointee Patty Mouton

During the meeting, Supervisor Foley presented the California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls 2023 Report with First 5 Orange County CEO Kim Goll providing an update on the 2023 Status of Children and Dr. Regina Chinsio-Kwong of the Orange County Health Care Agency providing an update on public health related to women and children. 

Key findings from these reports include: 

California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls 2023 Report: 

  • Women are over-mentored and fully empowered. Women are also under-promoted, under invested in, and consistently underpaid.  
  • In 2021 the child poverty rate fell to 5.2%, an historic low. 
  • Women who had access to credit saw their credit standing improve during the pandemic, especially those with limited credit availability.  
  • Child poverty rates have since more than doubled nationally.  
    • In California, the latest figures from the California Poverty Measure put the total poverty rate at 13.8%, up from 11.7% in 2021.  
    • Orange County's child poverty rate 10.8%, yet more than 50% of Orange County's children are eligible for free and reduced lunch. 
  • The 2023 labor force participation rate for prime-age women hit 77% in 2023 - the highest on record.  
    • Women are overrepresented in part-time and low paid positions.  
    • Women, and particularly women of color, face earnings gaps, caregiving burdens, and barriers to wealth building that create a persistent state of gender-based economic disparity, especially here in Orange County where the local economy depends on hospitality workers and caregivers.  
  • California is home to the largest number of women-owned business in the nation, totaling roughly 1.5 million.  
  • Women represent half of the workforce in the fifth largest economy in the world. 

First 5 2023 Status of Children in Orange County: 

  • Positive improvements in health insurance access, early prenatal care and a reduction in child poverty and high school dropout rates.  
  • The percentage of Orange County high school graduates considered ready for college increased as well.  
  • At the same time, several indicators showed negative movement suggesting areas for continued focus to improve children’s outcomes. These include:  
    • A 4.3% decrease in the percentage of third grade students meeting English Language, Arts and Math standards, since 2019.  
    • A 12.1% increase in the chronic school absenteeism rate from 2021 to 2022.  
    • An 8.5% increase in the percentage of eleventh grade students experiencing depression-related feelings, with students who identified as lesbian, gay or bisexual (LGB) being over 1.5 times more likely to experience these feelings.  
    • Suicide is now the leading cause of death among 10-to-14-year-old children. 

Orange County Health Care Agency – Community Reports 

  • OC: Life Expectancy – 80.4 years (negative trend)  
    • CA average 78.4, National average 76.1 
  • OC: percent of mothers who received early prenatal care – 88.2% (no clear trend)  
    • CA average 85.8%, National average 77.7% 
  • OC: teen birth rate per 1,000 females aged 15-19 – 6.9 (positive trend)  
    • CA average 11.0, National average 15.4 
  • OC: percent of adults with health insurance (aged 18-64) – 90.4% (positive trend) 
    • CA average 90.1%, National average 87.8% 
  • OC: percent of children with health insurance – 96.4% (no clear trend)  
    • CA average 96.5%, National average 87.8% 
  • OC: percent of adults who are obese – 24.2 % (no clear trend) 
    • CA average 28.2%, National average 41.8% 
  • OC: percent of 5th graders who are obese – 36.6% (no clear trend)  
    • CA average 41.3%, National average N/A 
  • OC: percent of adults needing and receiving behavioral health care services – 49.7% (no clear trend) 
    • CA average 53.8%, National average N/A 
  • OC: age-adjusted drug induced death rate per 100,000 – 15.6 (negative trend)  
    • CA average 17.8%, National average 32.4 

Photos from the event available here:  

Speaker at Roundtable on Status of Women and Girls in Orange County  

Speakers at Roundtable on Status of Women and Girls in Orange County  

Speakers at Roundtable on Status of Women and Girls in Orange County  

Speakers at Roundtable on Status of Women and Girls in Orange County  

Speakers at Roundtable on Status of Women and Girls in Orange County  

Supervisor Foley at Roundtable on Status of Women and Girls in Orange County  

Supervisor Foley and speaker at Roundtable on Status of Women and Girls in Orange County


Orange County Supervisor Katrina Foley was elected to the Board of Supervisors in 2022 to represent the newly established District 5, which includes the cities of Aliso Viejo, Costa Mesa, Dana Point, a large portion of Irvine, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, Laguna Woods, Newport Beach, San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano, as well as the unincorporated areas of Coto de Caza, Emerald Bay, Ladera Ranch, Las Flores, Rancho Mission Viejo, Stonecliffe and Wagon Wheel. This is her second term on the Board of Supervisors, where she previously served District 2.

Supervisor Foley’s Board appointments include the Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA), OCFA Legislation & Public Affairs Committee Chair, Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA), OCTA Legislative and Communications Committee Vice Chair, Los Angeles – San Diego – San Luis Obispo (LOSSAN) Rail Corridor Agency, Transportation Corridor Agency (TCA), TCA Joint Environmental Committee, Coastal Greenbelt Authority, Newport Bay and South Orange County Watershed Executive Committees, Ocean Institute, San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) Community Engagement Panel, Spent Fuel Solutions Coalition Co-Chair, Orange County Housing Finance Trust Chair, and the Orange County Juvenile Justice Coordinating Council.