Commission On The Status Of Women
Human trafficking is the fastest growing criminal enterprise of the 21st century, second only to drugs. Los Angeles is one of the most active human trafficking hubs in the state and around the world. Some of the most recognizable trafficking corridors in Los Angeles include Western Avenue, Century Boulevard, Sepulveda Boulevard, and Figueroa Street.
“Look Again” is a media campaign produced by the LACSW, in partnership with the LAPD and creative professionals at the renowned advertising firm Chiat Day, with support from the Mayor’s Office and the LA City Council. The intention of the campaign is to capture Angelenos' attention and raise awareness of the realities surrounding human trafficking, in particular child sex trafficking. It is not happening "somewhere else" – it is right in our neighborhoods and the victims are just like girls we all know.
In 2018, "Look Again" was nominated to the ACT Responsible Awards offered each year at the Cannes Lions Festival. ACT Responsible is an international non-profit association with the mission to inspire, promote and federate the actors of the advertising communications industry around social responsibility and sustainable development and to share good practices. "Look Again" was featured at the ‘‘Great Ads For Good Causes” Exhibition.
Background & Mission
LACSW was established through an ordinance passed by Mayor Tom Bradley in 1975. In 2015, Mayor Eric Garcetti re-launched LACSW with a new Commissionership dedicated to advance gender equality. LACSW's mandate is to advance the general welfare of women and girls in the Los Angeles community and to ensure that all women have full and equal participation in City government. Its mission is to:
Inform and Advise the Mayor and City Council of the needs and challenges that Los Angeles women face, with special emphasis placed on women in City government.
Investigate problems and conditions adversely affecting women.
Recommend solutions to problems impacting women; identify programs that offer a greater opportunity and ability for Los Angeles Women to pursue life choices to pursue life choices without discrimination.
Propose methods of alleviating gender-based inequities in pay and job opportunities.
Promote awareness of changing life patterns, opportunities and responsibilities of women.
Maintain relationships with citizen groups that are committed to identifying and removing obstacles to the development of a woman's full potential.
Meet our Commissioners and explore how they are working to advance the well-being of women and girls in the City of Los Angeles.
Jackie Filla, President
Nancy Perlman, Vice President
Erma Bernard-Gibson, Delegate
Jessica Postigo, Commissioner
Maryam Zar, Commissioner
LACSW is staffed by the LA Housing + Community Investment Department.
MAYOR ERIC GARCETTI'S EXECUTIVE DIRECTIVE NO. 11
LACSW actively supports the implementation of Executive Directive No. 11 on Gender Equity in City Operations. As part of this work, LACSW engages in several different issue areas.
1. Gender Equality & Workforce Development
Occupational sex segregation and wage discrimination continue to be a challenge for women in the workforce. Women are overrepresented in lower-paying jobs, while underrepresented in better paid occupations. In addition, women working full time and year around in California earn less than men in every racial and ethnic group. For each dollar earned by white men, Latinas earn 42 cents, African American women earn 59 cents, Asian American women earn 75 cents, and white women earn 78 cents. Over 7 in 10 single mothers in LA County struggle to meet basic needs. Sexual harassment and discrimination, unpaid caretaking labor, and motherhood penalties are other severe economic hardships that working women face.
As part of LACSW's efforts to help implement Executive Directive No. 11, LACSW works with the Workforce Development Board (WBD) and the Economic & Workforce Development Department (EWDD) to ensure that the LA City Workforce Development System (WDS) addresses the needs of women and girls. As a result of our joint efforts, EWDD, in their most recent WorkSource System Request for Proposal, included a requirement to ensure that program design:
- prevents gender stereotyping and implicit gender bias
- provides women and men with equal job training opportunities
- provides staff training that addressess harassment and discrimination
On June 7, 2018, WDB adopted LACSW’s recommendations on the WDS and incorporated them into the WDB’s Annual Plan for 2018/2019 under the Strategic Goal No. 5. LACSW will continue to support WDB and EWDD in the implementation of these recommendations and help build the WDS’s capacity to apply a gender lens to the design, implementation, and evaluation of its services.
Read the WBD and EWDD Annual Plan for 2018-2018/Strategic Goal No. 5 here.
2. Gender Equality & Transportation
Transportation plays a fundamental role for women and men, girls and boys, and gender non-conforming individuals’ access to education, employment, healthcare, childcare, and other key services. Affordable, safe, timely, and accessible transit services affect resident’s life prospects and quality of life. In addition, it boosts socio-economic growth and increases cross-cultural connectivity, as well as social cohesion.
Several studies show that women and men have different mobility patterns and mobility needs. On average, women use public transportation to a greater extent than men, taking multiple short trips at regular and irregular hours, often together with their children and/or elderly relatives or, while carrying bulky items for the household. Continue to read why transportation is a gender equality issue here.
To ensure transportation services meet the needs of women and girls, LACSW participates in Metro’s NextGen Bus Study and collaborates with LA Department of Transportation (LADOT) as well as other relevant stakeholders. On September 21, 2018, LACSW hosted a panel discussion where Metro, LADOT, Los Angeles Police Department, LA County Women & Girls Initiative Investing in Place, and Central City Neighborhood Partners presented their efforts to address women's mobility needs. Download the Minutes here.
3. The Intersection of Domestic Violence, Human Trafficking & Female Homelessness
In the past decade, women and girls have become more present than ever on our streets. From 2009 to 2016, the number of unsheltered women grew by 70% in Los Angeles. Compared to men, these women share a different story and have different needs. Today, 57% of all unsheltered women report domestic violence as their immediate cause to homelessness. In Los Angeles, 28% of the female homeless population has a history of sex trafficking, compared to 6% of unsheltered men. As women and girls are disproportionately affected by domestic violence and human trafficking, it is imperative for cities to provide a comprehensive level of support, specifically access to supportive housing and financial resources.
LACSW supports the work of the LA City Domestic Violence Alliance and the LA Domestic Violence - Homelessness Coalition to raise awareness about this issue. In addition, LACSW has launhed the "Look Again" Campaign and made the issue a focus area for the 2017 Pioneer Women’s Awards and the 48th Annual National Association of Commissions for Women Conference.
3.1 Pioneer Women's Awards
Since 1989, LACSW has partnered with City Council and the Mayor of LA in honoring female leaders for their exemplary contribution to the City through the Pioneer Women’s Awards. Together, we have awarded more than 400 resilient women and brought awareness to their specific area of work while fostering closer relationships between the City and community leaders. In 2018, 17 women were recognized for their tireless efforts to support survivors of domestic violence, human trafficking, and homelessness. Read the 2018 presentation in City Council by LACSW Commissioner Jessica Postigo here.
3.2 “Look Again”
CITY HALL X
City Hall X (CHX) is a monthly speaker series, exclusively for women working in the Los Angeles City Government that was launched in January, 2015. Every month, CHX invites one of the stellar women working in the LA City Government to share her story. For those who attend, it is a transformative experience and a great way to connect with other women, especially those in leadership positions.
CONNECTING WOMEN'S COMMISSIONS FROM ACROSS THE COUNTRY
In August 2018, LACSW brought the National Association of Commissions for Women Conference to LA for the first time and created a space for leaders from across the country to connect, learn from each other, and share ideas for how to advance women’s equality. The 48th Annual National Association of Commissions for Women Conference program included 25+ sessions with over 60 speakers and a multidisciplinary audience from across the country. Watch Channel 35’s segment of the conference here.
PREVENTING HARASSMENT & DISCRIMINATION IN THE WORKPLACE
LACSW is actively engaged in the City’s efforts to prevent and address harassment and discrimination. On November 27, 2017, LACSW participated in the City Council discussion on this issue and expressed support for a Motion introduced by Councilmembers Paul Krekorian and Nury Martinez. Read LACSW statement here.
In addition, LACSW contributes to the work of the Risk Reduction Working Group which informed Executive Directive No. 23 on Harassment and Discrimination and the launch of the online reporting platform MyVoiceLA. Additional recommendations by the Working Group will be reported to the Risk Reduction Cabinet throughout 2018.
Read LACSW’s Strategic Action Plan here.
A Sample of Past Projects
THE REPORT ON THE STATUS OF WOMEN & GIRLS
In 2015, LACSW, in partnership with Mount Saint Mary's University and Mayor Eric Garcetti released The Report on the Status of Women and Girls in Los Angeles - the first-ever study focusing on the issues and trends affecting women and girls in the City of Los Angeles. The release was followed by a presentation in City Council, which provided specific data on Demographics, Leadership, Veterans, Education and Workforce Development, and Public Safety.
CONNECTING WOMEN & GIRLS TO CRISIS COUNSELORS
Crisis Text Line (CTL) is free, 24/7 support for those in crisis; users can text 741741 from anywhere within the U.S. to connect with a trained Crisis Counselor. In 2017, LACSW created a partnership between LA City and CTL with the mission of raising awareness among Angelenos about CTL’s free service. In addition, CTL assigned the keyword “LA” to the region, which enables CTL to collect data specific to LA. That data is passed along to the City, free of charge, and may be instrumental in informing policy strategy around health and wellness, public safety and more.
CAREERS IN CITY GOVERNMENT
“Making LA Happen” is an inspiring and educational video series profiling the phenomenal women working in LA City government. The project was a collaboration between LACSW, LA’s Information Technology Agency, LA Cityview 35, and the Directors Guild of America. Several female directors from the DGA graciously donated their time to produce and direct four videos featuring:
- Seleta Reynolds, General Manager, Los Angeles Department of Transportation
- Ana Guerrero, Mayor Garcetti's Chief of Staff
- Kristin Crowley, Los Angeles's first female Fire Marshall
- Deborah Flint, General Manager, Los Angeles Airports
HUMAN TRAFFICKING PREVENTION TRAINING
LACSW, in partnership with the Los Angeles Police Department, has worked to increase the number of trainings on human trafficking. In these trainings, participants learnt:
- Warning signs of human trafficking
- The importance a survivor-centered approach that focuses on the physical and emotional well-being of survivors
- Ways to partner with public and private organizations to provide survivors a network of support
CONNECTING WOMEN BUSINESS OWNERS TO RESOURCES
At the “Connecting Women to Power” conference, hosted by Jerome Horton, member for the 4th District and former Chair of the California Board of Equalization, LACSW facilitated the distribution of business development resources to thousands of women attending. In partnership with the Economic and Workforce Development Department, LACSW ensured women learnt how to access resources on:
- Funding opportunities
- Business Development
- Marketing and public relations.
Download a summary of the LACSW projects here.
How to Get Involved
LACSW meets every third Friday of the month from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm, at City Hall, room 1060. Our meetings are open to the public and no prior registration is needed. For more information about our meetings and activities, please visit the calendar and our agendas. If you want to present your project before LACSW or partner with the Commission, please email LACSW Project Coordinator, Caroline Toren at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Los Angeles City Commission on the Status of Women
1200 W. 7th Street, 9th floor
Los Angeles, California 90017
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