​Over the past five decades, women’s presence in the workforce has increased dramatically in numbers—from 31.5 million in 1970 to 72.6 million in 2012—and now comprises nearly half of the country’s workforce. In just the last decade, the CSU has granted more than 430,000 total degrees to women and continues to provide stimulating opportunities that allow women to capitalize on their talents and break barriers in their industry.

Sacramento State Women's PanelCSU campuses hold numerous events throughout the year that support female students in gaining the tools needed to develop their professional career. Sacramento State recently hosted a forum where five women working in the construction industry spoke to current and potential students about how to succeed in a predominately male field. On March 22, Cal State Fullerton will give female student veterans a chance to network with women veterans who have graduated from college and are now in the workforce, as well as receive information about career resources.

High-impact practices such as service-learning allow students to exercise their skills and talents by helping the community thrive. In collaboration with the Young Women’s Studies Club at Hoover High School, San Diego State Women’s Studies’ students participate in programs aimed at boosting the self-esteem of young girls. They provide mentorship and guidance to encourage female youth to complete high school and apply for college, embrace healthy living behaviors and pursue activities that foster knowledge of women’s history and self-expression.

Hilda SolisBy providing programs such as these, female students are able to gain the network and skills needed to reach their professional aspirations. For example, Hilda L. Solis utilized the knowledge she obtained as a political science major at Cal Poly Pomona to help her excel in the political arena. Solis served as the U.S. Secretary of Labor from 2009 to 2013, and is now giving back to the university as a scholar in residence where she will guest lecture in classes, mentor students and help faculty develop curriculum.

Adriana Ocampo UriaAfter graduating from Cal State L.A. and Cal State Northridge, Adriana Ocampo Uria went on to become the science program manager at NASA. She is one of the foremost experts in remote sensing and planetary mapping and is responsible for the New Frontier Exploration program and Juno Mission to Jupiter. Solis and Ocampo Uria are just two of the millions of other notable CSU alumna who are working in the community, the state and the nation and breaking barriers for future women leaders.