Mayor Eric Garcetti and First Lady Amy Elaine Wakeland are lifelong champions of gender equity and women’s leadership.
Achieving equality is a top priority for Mayor Garcetti and First Lady Amy Elaine Wakeland, and it has been a central focus of the Mayor’s agenda since his earliest days at City Hall.
When he entered public life as a City Councilmember, Garcetti immediately emerged as a key figure, with Wakeland’s voice leading the charge, in the City’s adoption of the international Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) — a human rights treaty that mandates adoptees to ensure equality for women and girls in the civil, political, economic, social, and cultural arenas.
As Mayor and First Lady, Garcetti and Wakeland built on that track record with a series of steps designed to raise awareness, and begin to solve, the challenge of gender inequality in Los Angeles. Their joint commitment led to the development of the Report on the Status of Women and Girls in Los Angeles, in conjunction with Mount Saint Mary’s College and the Los Angeles Commission on the Status of Women — a first-of-its-kind comprehensive study detailing data on the specific manifestations of gender inequality in the City.
On the day that report was released, the Mayor also issued an executive directive on gender equity, which called on every City Department to help Los Angeles fulfill its responsibilities under the CEDAW ordinance. As one of the first cities to adopt CEDAW, L.A. served as a model for its implementation by creating the Gender Equity Coalition — which includes a Gender Equity Liaison from every City Department — and directing the leadership of each Department to prepare a Gender Equity Action Plan, complete with quarterly plan progress reports, to measure and address disparities in the workforce.
In 2017, Garcetti and Wakeland hosted the inaugural Los Angeles State of Women & Girls Address and Young Women’s Assembly, which brought civic and thought leaders together with 700 girls, young women, and trans youth for in-depth conversations, panels, and presentations on the state of gender equality in Los Angeles. The Mayor and the First Lady are hosting the second annual Assembly in October of 2018.
A summary of the City’s progress during the Garcetti administration is below.
- For the first time in L.A.’s history, the City achieved gender parity on its 41 boards and commissions. As of September 2018, women hold more than 50% of these positions, and there are no longer any all-male commissions.
- 50% of Garcetti’s Deputy Mayors are women.
- Mayor Garcetti closed the wage gap in his office between men and women.
- Since taking office, Garcetti has appointed 23 Department Heads, and 43% are women.
- Women hold leadership positions in nontraditional areas throughout City government. For the first time:
- The Senior Technology Advisor to the Mayor is a woman who has spearheaded the effort to expand access to free science, technology, art, and engineering education for girls;
- A woman leads the Bureau of Street Lighting;
- The Fire Department promoted a woman to the position of Fire Marshal, an African American woman to the rank of Battalion Chief, and a woman to be an Arson Investigator (who is also the first woman named Firefighter of the Year by the L.A. City Firefighters Relief Association);
- A woman is in charge of the $13 billion renovation at LAX;
- A woman runs the Department of Transportation, executing a historic $120 billion investment in the City’s transportation infrastructure; and,
- A woman leads the Mayor’s Innovation Team, one of the few female lead innovation labs in the country.
- These leadership positions have translated into a stronger female presence throughout City Hall: the Information Technology Agency (ITA) has seen a 300% increase in female hiring, and nearly 50% of ITA’s managers are women, and 40% of ITA’s programmers are women; and, the Bureau of Engineering is 43% female.
- Since 2013, Wakeland has partnered with the Getty House Foundation to produce the Women’s Leadership Series — events designed to highlight and celebrate the professional accomplishments of women and to drive L.A.’s progress to a fairer and more inclusive City for all genders.
- The Department of Neighborhood Empowerment launched IgniteLA, a program for young women that builds civics knowledge and leadership skills and encourages active engagement in local politics.
- The Department of Recreation and Parks launched the Women Officials Recruitment and Certification program to train women to become sports referees, providing them with opportunities to work at 184 Recreation Centers citywide.
- Girls Play L.A. has dramatically increased girls’ participation in sports and fitness programs, expanding such programs to 100 parks — exceeding the City’s original goal of 88: In fiscal year 2017-18, the participation of girls ages 6 to 15 in sport league and fitness programs was 42.3%. This was well above the 25% baseline measured in fiscal year 2014-15 and is a testament to the City’s ability to execute on furthering equitable gender representation.
- The Public Library’s Full STEAM Ahead program features a 54% girls’ participation rate, exposing young women to traditionally male-dominated fields in science and mathematics.
- The Mayor’s Youth Council advises the Mayor and his staff regarding issues of concern to young Angelenos. 60% of its Councilmembers are girls.
- The Personnel Department, in partnership with the Information Technology Agency and the Mayor’s Innovation Team, launched the City’s first online sexual harassment reporting tool, MyVoiceLA. Developed and launched in under 6 months, the tool is a first of its kind, and enables employees and those who serve the City in a variety of capacities to submit an online report if they experience sexual harassment or discrimination in the workplace. Focused on increasing the reporting avenues and overall transparency in the reporting process, the tool has already demonstrated its value to City employees.
- The Personnel Department, in partnership with the Police Department and Mayor’s Innovation Team, launched Pledge to Patrol, an employment and apprenticeship program for young adults who have been outstanding participants in youth programs. The first Pledge to Patrol cohort, enrolled in November 2017, was more than 55% female. The first Academy graduate also female. Now, with three classes enrolled and a fourth on the way, Pledge to Patrol maintains an overall participation rate of 50% female.
- The First Lady led the successful effort to expand the Domestic Abuse Response Team program from operating in just 10 of the Police Department’s geographic areas to all 21 areas, covering the whole city.
- The City piloted its Sexual Assault Response Team program when Garcetti became Mayor, later expanding the program citywide.
- Rape kits are now tested within 90 days.
- The Fire Foundation funded the Mayor’s expansion of the LAFD Girls Camp, continuing a shift in women’s perspectives of the profession of firefighting, and increasing the number of its prepared female firefighter candidates.
- Garcetti created the Mayor’s Working Group Against Domestic Violence and required each City Department Head to develop an Action Plan Against Domestic Violence.
- The Fire Department developed and mandated training and procedures tailored for first responders who provide emergency medical services to raise awareness and help victims of domestic violence and human trafficking.
- The Mayor, along with County Supervisors, has already opened the doors on the City’s second Family Justice Center. These centers are focused on providing resources and refuge to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and other forms of violence, and they plan to open two more centers.
- The Mayor’s Office has worked closely with the Fire Department on campaigns to recruit more women to the Department, partnering with women’s athletic teams at USC and UCLA, and advertising on television and social media. The Department has doubled its pace of hiring women — and last year, for the first time ever, a female recruit graduated at the top of her class.
- The Mayor hired the City’s first Chief Procurement Officer to develop a citywide procurement strategy, which includes focusing on including small and women-owned businesses in the procurement process.
- The Mayor launched an internal website, buyLA, in order to provide procurement professionals within the City workforce with best practices for writing contracts and solicitations, a calendar of events, and a directory of contracting contacts, all aimed at helping City staff provide better, consistent services to vendors and partners of the City.
- The Mayor increased the number of certified women-owned business enterprises (WBE’s) registered in the Los Angeles Business Assistance Virtual Network (LABAVN) by 36% since July 2017. BAVN is the City’s online platform where businesses can identify and bid for unique contracting opportunities with the City of Los Angeles. This was achieved as a result of direct efforts to improve outreach and transparency in the registration process.
- The Bureau of Contract Administration cleared a three year WBE certification backlog by adding resources that could quickly work to address pending applications.
- The Bureau of Contract Administration completed a 4-week training at 9 Business Source Centers to enable staff to mentor small businesses to become certified businesses with the City.
- The Bureau of Contract Administration is regularly hosting outreach events centered on key topics important to women-owned businesses and small businesses. These efforts are focused on marketing, doing business with the City, and accelerating business’ understanding of how to apply and register through BAVN.
- The Mayor partnered with the Wurwand Foundation and Opportunity Fund to pilot a grants challenge to offer funding to LA-based women entrepreneurs to help expand their businesses. The grant was awarded to five WBE’s, and each received grants between $5,000 and $10,000 in recognition of their ability to grow thriving businesses, for their support of women entrepreneurship, and their community impact.
- The Mayor’s Innovation Team, in partnership with the Office of Finance and other key city departments, launched the L.A. Business Portal in English and Spanish to nurture the growing population of entrepreneurs, including women who own small businesses.
- The Mayor signed an ordinance that is gradually raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020. The minimum wage increase already has lifted more than 600,000 Angelenos out of poverty and provided raises for 49.5% of female workers in Los Angeles, including 63% of Latinas.
- Since 2014, the City has increased 12-fold the value of contracts awarded annually to WBEs — from $3.6 million then to $43.3 million. Improved tracking capabilities, paired with the increased number of certified WBEs, will put the City on track to continue this upward trend.