CSUN Panel to Explore the Role of Women in L.A. Politics

Nury Martinez

Nury Martinez

Los Angeles City Councilwoman Nury Martinez, former Los Angeles City Controller and mayoral candidate Wendy Greuel and former Los Angeles City Councilwoman Joy Picus will discuss their experiences as women holding an elected office in the City of Angels during a special presentation on Thursday, Nov. 6, at California State University, Northridge.

The trio will offer their insights into why Los Angeles, the second largest city in the nation, has witnessed a decline in the number of women holding elected office in recent years. They also will explore the challenges women face in seeking elected office in the city.

The discussion, “Women in Los Angeles Politics,” will take place from 7 to 8 p.m. in the Jack and Florence Ferman Presentation Room of the Delmar T. Oviatt Library, located in the heart of the CSUN campus at 18111 Nordhoff St. in Northridge.

Political science professor Kristy Michaud said the idea for the panel grew out of a discussion a colleague had with Picus and the realization that there currently is only one woman, Martinez, sitting on the 15-member Los Angeles City Council.

Wendy Greuel

Wendy Greuel

“Only one woman of the 15 councilmembers: That really made us stop and think,” said Michaud, director of CSUN’s Center for Southern California Studies, which is organizing the event. “Joy was such an impactful women on the Los Angeles City Council during her 16-year tenure. Wendy followed her and went on to become the second woman elected to citywide office as controller. Now Nury is working for her constituents and the city of Los Angeles on a council that is made up of 14 men and only one woman. As women serving in the City of Los Angeles, they will address the issue of why we don’t have a lot of women running for office and what challenges women face in politics today.”

Martinez, who graduated from CSUN in in 1996 with a bachelor’s degree in political science, was first elected to public office in 2009 as a member of the Los Angeles Unified School District’s Board of Education. In 2013, she was selected by voters during a special election to replace Tony Cardenas on the Los Angeles City Council. Cardenas had vacated the seat to become a member of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Joy Picus

Greuel was first elected to the Los Angeles City Council in 2002. She served as a council member for seven years before being elected Los Angeles City Controller in 2009. She held that post for four years. Greuel was a candidate for mayor of Los Angeles in 2013, but lost the election to Eric Garcetti.

Picus, a longtime supporter of California State University, Northridge, served as a member of the Los Angeles City Council from 1977 to 1993. She is known for her efforts to create family-friendly workplaces and to promote opportunities for women. In 1985, she was named “Woman of the Year” by Ms. Magazine for her successful effort to include a historic “pay equity” agreement in the city’s collective-bargaining agreement with its employee union.

The event begins at 6 p.m. with a reception hosted by CSUN’s Office of Government and Community Relations, followed at 7 p.m. by the panel discussion. The presentation is free and open to the pubic, but seating is limited. Reservations should be made by Oct. 31. For more information and to RSVP, call (818) 677-3330 or email cscs@csun.edu.

The Center for Southern California Studies was established in 1996 to provide research, education and service on public policy issues facing Southern California. The center advances its objectives by offering diverse programs that facilitate pathways to productive policy dialogue aimed at building community capacity and participation.

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