Category Archives: Women

Fourth Annual Women’s March

For the fourth consecutive year, thousands of locals took to the streets to march downtown in support of women’s rights.  This year had a slightly different focus due to the upcoming elections but still featured female empowerment slogans along with jokes and off the cuff banners.  Other rights that jumped on the bandwagon were those from the LGBTQ community, immigrants, race, anti-war and more.  There were approximately 30,000 attendees (lower than the last two years). Featured speakers were: Eric Garcetti, Caitlyn Jenner and Maxine Waters.

The main event – as in previous years – took place in Washington. Even though there were less people marching, the “energy” was described as being “still there.”

Women’s Leadership Series

Last month women in leadership roles were invited to the home of Eric Garcetti.  The Mayor invited 200+ women to join him at the Getty House for the Women’s Leadership Series & Engage LA event series.

At the event, women were able to network with each other while getting information on the many female locally-owned and run businesses and how they can get involved in the future.  As well discussions centered on competing for city contracts within the four million residence city that comprises 500,000 businesses.

Within the city’s $10billion budget, 10% is dedicated to fund city contracts.  Back in 2013 – when Mayor Garcetti first took office – only 1½% of the contracts went to women. Since gender equality is such a high priority for Garcetti, this has changed.

One of the takeaways from this was that more women have to bid for contracts.  Not only is this going to result in the best person for the job and likely bring more women into positions that they deserve it will also benefit the city.

In addition, members of Garcetti’s Innovation Team (LA City’s first female Director of Finance Claire Bartels and Chief Procurement Officer Shannon Hoppes) have been attempting to simplify the process of getting contracts.

Encouragement of Local Female Entrepreneurs

It was recently announced by the Mayor that November 19th will from now on become a day each year to officially recognize and commend female entrepreneurs.  Women’s Entrepreneurship Day was held last month for the first time…and will now be held annually. 

The topic of this year’s event was “Together we Rise,” and women were invited by Mayor Garcetti’s Office of Economic Development to celebrate the female business owners who have had a huge impact on the LA community, economy and quality of life.  as such, women came and were inspired, encouraged and empowered, despite the tremendous obstacles they have had to overcome in reaching their success.

At the day event, female entrepreneurs – those just starting out and also those who have already enjoyed some success – spoke to the audience while others held workshops while networking with both officials and locals.

some of the attendees included representatives from Wok Star Inc., Martin & Martin, Special Needs Network, Unique Markets, Avenida Productions, NorthStar Moving Company, STartUpDTLA, and more. 

In addition, there were industry experts like coaches, authors, negotiation specialists, EI experts and financial advisors.

another company jumped on the bandwagon, using the day’s opportunity to promote the success of their own women.  Three designer bags were created by Stacy’s Pita Chips and are being sold Kroger stores in honor of this day celebrating women entrepreneurs.  On the bags are designs made by women that represent the ‘ six stages of a female entrepreneur’s journey.’ Stacy’s created a competition for the designer that would be used and the winners (Alexander Bowman, Jade Purple Brown and Nomoco) of that was announced in march – Women’s History Month. Bowman is an LA designer; Brown from New York and Nomoco is Japanese born but trained in London.

as well as promoting and encouraging the female entrepreneur, the bags commemorate Stacy’s Pita Chips first ever Rise Program – set up to support and fund women-owned businesses.

This is an important cause for Stacy’s Pita Chips given the misrepresentation of funding for female entrepreneurs.  One example of this is the fact that women own approximately 40% of businesses but are only privy to around 2 percent of private equity funding.  Stacy’s VP of Marketing, Ciara  Dilley said:

“We believe the economic empowerment of women is the single most powerful contribution we can make to advancing female equality.”

Hopefully November 19th in the future in LA will work toward facilitating this goal.

“By Women, For Women”

A gender inclusive workplace according to lawyer, entrepreneur and mother of four Amy Nelson is a “workplace that especially caters to women with children.”  Having seen the tremendous pay gap and discrimination levied toward pregnant women, two years ago she launched The Riveter.  This establishment attempts to transform the current status of the workplace which is “built by and for men.”

Indeed their mission statement is:

“We see a world in which equity of opportunity is a reality, not merely a promise, and we strive to work with others who share our ideas. While devout in our mission to serve women in their work, we are inclusive of all. We are built by women, for everyone.”

Given that Nelson only established The Riveter back in 2017, it’s pretty impressive that it has already raised $21.6 million in venture capital. one of its co-working spaces is in LA.

Then there is the local success story of Yola Jimenez’s all-woman mezcal business that she took over from her grandfather.  some of today’s workers are the granddaughters of the original workers!  with the increase in popularity of mezcal in recent years, the model she has developed, she believes, will be able to “provide jobs and incomes, which, some studies show, can have larger impacts on communities.”

She built the business with two partners – Lykee Li and Gina Correll Aglietti in Mexico City.  But today – the newly branded Yola Mezcal – is headquartered in Silver Lake and does so much more than produce mezcal.  Between all female music festivals and philanthropic endeavors, the company does not seek to exclude men, but certainly aims to “create a future [in an attempt to] understand what it means to be women and men and learning to live together.”

Sounds like way more than just an all-women brand.          

LA: Fighting for Rights

Marching for gender equality

Now in its third year, the Women’s March Los Angeles was again filled to capacity in Pershing Square.  Recognizing the success of the women’s movement in 2018, the organization set out to not rest on its laurels and demanded additional advancements in gender equality issues. 

The event – held on Saturday January 18 – was graced with the presence of various inspirational speakers as well as entertainers calling for empowerment and social justice.  Subjects covered included:  rights of LGBTQ/trans; increased gender equality in the political sphere; racial justice; immigration rights and more.

Although there had been an ideological split within the movement’s founders, turnout was still very high.  Rep. Katie Hill (who unseat Republican Rep. Steve Knight in the midterm election) took to the stage and said: “The activism has just started,” urging activists to “get back to work.”

Women were not the only LA group to have felt the need to fight for their rights.  LA teachers have been striking in an effort to employ more teachers to ease pressure on current educators and improve the education system.  It finally ended when a deal was reached between the teachers and the United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) union.  The agreement included a 6 percent increase in pay; reducing average class size by 2022 by four students, a full time nurse for each school and a full-time librarian for every high school .