It’s not surprising that women in Los Angeles, and across the state, are not only spearheading our economy but also leading communities in the pathway to prosperity across the region. 

Women hold the reins at the highest levels of government in Los Angeles County —the largest in the nation. What used to be the “five kings” L.A. County Board of Supervisors, is now a powerful all-women government body, representing more than 10 million residents and overseeing a budget of $43 billion this fiscal year. 

The City of Los Angeles is led by Mayor Karen Bass, the first woman to lead the second-largest city in the country, and through her work aimed at ending homelessness, she is setting a trend for other Mayors across the country to tackle one of the most critical human crises in the U.S.  

On the economic landscape, the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce has also a woman, Maria Salinas, serving as president and CEO. And we are proud to have Salinas sitting on our Board of Directors. 

Our organization’s leadership reflects what is happening at the government and business levels. United Way of Greater Los Angeles is also run by women executives from diverse backgrounds and walks of life. Elise Buik, who became the first female CEO at United Way of Greater Los Angeles, has led the organization for over a decade to navigate the most complex issues our communities face. 

We are proud to support the work of our community partners —many of them also led by admirable women —that drive economic mobility in communities like Pico-Union, where our asset mapping work is setting the foundation to leverage the economic power of small businesses owned by women. 

According to the 2023 Status of Women and Girls in California report, California is home to the largest number of women-owned businesses in the United States — 1.5 million. California women own or co-own 36% of the state’s privately owned businesses. 

During Women’s History Month, we celebrate women’s economic power and leadership in many fields, but we also recognize these achievements were not easy. We owe it to those brave women, who fought against systems that oppressed women’s rights and conquered opportunities women can access today. We also acknowledge that we need to continue fighting against gender wage disparities and other gender biases by working together to achieve gender equality. 

This year’s Women’s History Month theme is focused on celebrating women who advocate for equity, diversity, and inclusion. We’re proud to see that our work is already contributing to empowering women of color across Los Angeles to achieve economic prosperity. Our Women Investment Network (WIN-LA) initiative is a testament to that.  

Launched last year, WIN-LA is an investment fund and mutual aid network for women of color in Los Angeles aimed to enable Black and Latina women to gain financial assets, invest in their neighborhoods, and grow their personal wealth by pooling funds in United Way’s affordable housing and economic development projects. Participants can see double-digit returns on their contributions while helping create affordable housing and other essential resources in their communities. 

Let’s continue celebrating Women’s History Month and Women’s International Day by recognizing women’s political, social, and economic achievements worldwide! 

Learn more about WIN-LA here, and contribute to support women’s economic mobility in L.A. by donating here


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