Make LA Work for Women

Read Rick Caruso's detailed plan to Make LA Work for Women. It’s clear: in order for our City to thrive, women must thrive.

Carmen Zella

Rick’s multi-faceted approach to creating a city that celebrates women is a breath of fresh air. As a mom and founder of a non profit that focuses on transforming communities through public art, I see daily the struggles women face and the untapped opportunity. Rick understands this and has already demonstrated how he will lead and ensure women thrive. I support his bold vision.”

Carmen Zella
CEO & Founder, Now Art LA

Stephanie Caspian

Women’s success is our economy’s success. Until we provide access to more affordable childcare, women will never be able to fully participate in our economy. This is why I support Rick’s economic plan for women: it offers specific solutions to help address our childcare crisis in our City through a variety of approaches. As a mother and owner/administrator of multiple childcare facilities in LA, I believe his solutions will truly make a difference in the lives of women and their families.”

Stephanie Caspian
Ed.D. Executive Director, Maple Tree Academy

Christy Vega

As a small business owner, mother and life-long Angeleno, I am looking for a Mayor who will be relentless in fighting for women, particularly Latinas. Rick’s economic plan for women is progressive and the exact kind of approach we need to ensure women business owners are set up for success. I share his vision for LA to be the most welcoming city for women entrepreneurs.”

Christy Vega
Owner, Casa Vega Restaurant

Tracy Hernandez

Women across Los Angeles want a Mayor who will actually fulfill their promises to create more equality and opportunity. By committing to appointing a Deputy Mayor for Women in the Economy, Rick is clearly establishing how he will structurally create accountability and deliver on his plans to create an environment where women are strongly represented and paid, and given excellent access to opportunities, including contracting with city entities. We look forward to working with a Caruso administration to make sure these priorities become reality.”

Tracy Hernandez
Founding CEO, LA BizFed

Maria Salinas, CEO, LA Chamber of Commerce

The LA Chamber is proud to support Rick’s economic policy for women in the economy. This ambitious plan will remove barriers for women-owned businesses, especially in the areas of procurement, and allow for increased opportunities. Women – especially women of color – are the backbone of our economy and have been particularly devastated by the pandemic. By acknowledging the unique challenges women face, Rick has developed a comprehensive plan that will create an ecosystem where women can truly flourish.”

Maria Salinas
CEO, LA Chamber of Commerce

Rachel Huntington, Owner, Bonjour Fete

During Covid, my business came to a grinding halt, and like many working mothers and small business owners, I experienced a lot of stress around if I would need to completely shut down. Rick, and his entire team, took a genuine personal interest in my business and gave me the flexibility I needed to weather this storm. This is the exact kind of empathetic, hands-on Mayor we want running the City.”

Rachel Huntington
Owner, Bonjour Fete

Lilly Rocha, CEO, Latino Restaurant Association

“As the CEO of the Latino Restaurant Association, an organization with over 900 business owners, I am excited to endorse Rick’s economic agenda to support women throughout Los Angeles. This is a clear vision and comprehensive plan to help women recover from the last few years. It is time we have someone leading our city with a proven track record of fulfilling their promises. Rick is this leader and will meet the moment with urgency.”

Lilly Rocha
CEO, Latino Restaurant Association

Angelenos are facing increasing threats to public safety and a lack of affordability. Nationally, women’s freedoms and access to reproductive healthcare are under serious threat. As a CEO and community builder, Rick is uniquely positioned to lead our city through these challenges and will market LA as a city that protects women’s freedoms. Women, minority and small business owners have been disproportionately impacted by these failures, and Covid has created further setbacks. LA is also a city rich in talent, creative capital and diversity. Rick’s vision is to create a city that WORKS for all Angelenos.

As Mayor, Rick will implement a robust and targeted policy agenda that supports our communities, leverages our unique assets, brings industries together, and creates opportunities for all Angelenos to thrive. Rick unequivocally supports a woman's right to choose and, as Mayor, he will wield the power of the office to ensure people have access to reproductive healthcare, including abortion. 

Make LA Work for Women

Women owned businesses are the backbone of our local economy. Los Angeles is home to one of the largest number of women-owned businesses in the country, but since the pandemic, there has been an exodus of women from the workforce, especially women of color, mothers and caregivers. It’s clear: in order for our City to thrive, women must thrive. As women across the country face attacks on their fundamental rights, LA also has an opportunity to lead with an ambitious agenda that is centered around women.

Women in LA are underpaid

Women working at the City earn, on average, just 76 percent of what men make.

In 2019, women took home just 24 percent of the gross amount the City paid its employees.

Only two of the 100 highest paid City of Los Angeles employees in 2019 were women, with the remaining 98 top earners men.

Women in LA are underrepresented

Women represent only 28 percent of the City of L.A.’s total workforce — the same amount as in 2015 when the Mayor’s office issued an Executive Directive to improve gender equity across City departments, and much lower than New York City, San Francisco, Philadelphia, L.A. County and other large public employers across the country.

Within some of the City’s largest departments, women’s representation is even worse: 22 percent at the Department of Water and Power, 23 percent at the Department of Public Works and 21 percent at the Department of General Services. 

On day 1, Rick will

Appoint a Deputy Mayor (DM) focused on Women & the Economy to ensure there is a dedicated individual inside the Mayor’s office fighting to ensure women are a center focus of the administration. The DM will work  with key city departments and county agencies to address policy priorities that support and extend opportunity to women across the city.

Market LA as a City that Protects Women’s Freedoms.  As CEO of the City, Rick will fight to attract and retain companies here on the premise that we are a city that supports women’s rights. He will champion our city as a safe place for women to build businesses and access to quality reproductive healthcare. Rick’s vision is for LA to be the leader in the number of women-owned businesses and products created in the city. He will also leverage the power of the bully pulpit to push forward solutions at all levels that support women’s right to choice.

Commit to Gender Parity in Administration via commissions, department and staff leadership.


Issue: Inflation is causing a rise in the cost of doing business and living in Los Angeles.

Solution:  Immediately develop a business tax relief & incentive program to combat inflation. Rick would have this ready to propose for the first budget cycle (examples include gross receipts tax, lowering costs associated with DWP) 

Issue: Los Angeles needs a measurable baseline of public and private sector statistics so that we can measure improvement and accountability.

Solution:  Accountability on the City’s progress to support and empower women. As Mayor, Rick will: 

  • Conduct structured audits of stated goals and where the city stands on achieving goals. 
  • Produce an analysis of women’s career track in city departments, particularly LAPD/LAFD where we know women do not advance at the same pace as men. We know that today women are just three percent of sworn Fire Department employees, three percent of building inspectors at the Department of Building and Safety and 18 percent of sworn Police Department employees — limiting access to thousands of well-paying City jobs with overtime opportunities and impacting the culture of these departments.
  • Work with the state to gather data on local business growth and determine how to support growing industries, and how to help industries that are slowing

Issue:    Barriers to entry for women in city contracting, women are woefully underrepresented not just in contracts, but on platforms for opportunity.

Solution:  Increase access to capital and expand the number of contracting opportunities for women owned small businesses.

  • Increase women-owned businesses as prime contractors to the City. To do this, Rick would unbundle large contracts to offer more bidding opportunities to women owned businesses. This would require more active project management by the city, a core competency of Rick’s experience as a public servant, builder and CEO.
  • Better enforce the current Local Bid Preference policy, ensuring a fair proportion of the eligible purchases and contracts for the purchase of goods or services for the County be awarded to local small businesses. Potentially look at what can be done through Charter amendments if necessary.
  • Expand the current Bureau of Contract Administration programs to mentor women-owned businesses through the city certification process, and through adding women-owned businesses to the list for contracted out city services. 
  • Expand ethnic groups to the women and minority owned businesses category for City RFP preference, making the City’s RFP process more inclusive.

Issue: Women are disproportionately impacted by Covid and continue to lack the necessary support to manage families and careers.

Solution:   Provide institutional resources to provide care for families in the City’s first budget cycle under Rick’s leadership

  • Offer tax credits and other benefits to businesses and organizations that provide on-site childcare, staggered and hybrid schedules and/or study spaces for school-age children.
  • Improve digital infrastructure and digital access as a right through assisting in working from home and remote education opportunities
  • Increase grant funding for organizations that provide extracurriculars and enrichment for children, including tutoring, mentoring, transportation to childcare and more.
  • Leverage city department resources to partner with LAUSD to enhance after school / summer school program opportunities like creating a memorandum of understanding with LAUSD on using parks for childcare.
  • Leverage private sector and public private partnerships to fund grants supporting women entrepreneurs and additional childcare options, including extending times for daycare.
  • Direct City departments to streamline development of more daycare facilities.


Issue: Women and families are hesitant to use public transportation.

Solution:  Public safety platform to address the hurdles women face in the public infrastructure.

  • Unsafe public transportation creates a “Transportation tax” where women pay more for transportation services because public transit is not a viable solution. Rick will work through Metro and DOT to ensure public transit and the supporting infrastructure is safe for all.
  • Women and moms make travel and purchasing decisions for families - if LA is not seen as safe for tourists and staycations, LA loses valuable tourism dollars.
  • Rick will create safe passage neighborhood routes to schools in partnership with Business Improvement Districts.

Issue: Women have specific physical/reproductive and mental health needs.

Solution:  Explore creating a city public health department, which could be designed with women’s needs in mind.

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