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Women's Conference hails groundbreaking Shriver Report

The 2009 Women's Conference in Long Beach, Calif., highlighted the recently released Shriver Report, which found that women now make up half of all American workers.

Maria Shriver speaks at the Women's Conference on Tuesday, in Long Beach, Calif.

Reed Saxon/AP

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Marsha Miller came to the 2009 Women's Conference at the Long Beach Convention Center for inspiration. By the end of the day, the attendee she says she got it – sometimes from tales of how women overcame abuse and sometimes from more unexpected places.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger drew guffaws from an unintentional laugh line, "my wife, Maria, changed by thinking."

This year's conference celebrated the Oct. 16 release of a groundbreaking report by the Center for American Progress and California first lady Maria Shriver. But the lives of the extraordinary women highlighted by the conference are what remain with Ms. Miller, an administrator at Unified Grocers in Cerritos, Calif., who has attended the event for the past 10 years.

"Women come here, see concrete examples of other successful women, and get inspired to go out and emulate them," she says.

The Shriver Report: A Woman's Nation Changes Everything, chronicles some of these achievements:

• Women are now half of US workers. "This is a permanent change in our culture – unlike temporary spikes in female employment in the past when, for instance, men left the workforce and went off to war."

• Three-quarters of Americans view the rising proportion of women in the workplace as a positive development, with 70 percent of men saying they are comfortable with women working outside the home. But both fathers and mothers are concerned about the negative effect on their children when there is no longer a stay-at-home parent.


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