One of the main points of Boston Mayor Thomas Menino's State of the City address was gender equality. Menino announced the forming of "Women on Main”, a new networking forum for women-owned businesses in Boston’s Main Streets districts.
Women-owned businesses like the block of Fairview Corner, which touts a row of all women-owned businesses: Kalembar Dune, Top It Off, Fabutique, and BakerBaker.
The block is owned by Shirley Walsh, who also owns Kalembar Dune. Menino's speech really struck a chord with Walsh. "As a woman, mother of two daughters, and business owner in Boston, grateful for being educated at one of the premier all-girls public schools in Boston (Girls' Latin School - now sadly demised) I am thrilled by the focus and attention that our mayor is putting on the issue of pay equity. It is one of the 'elephants in the room' - we all know abut it, yet seem powerless to correct."
Top It Off's Elizabeth Hoenscheid attended the State of the City address and posted the following on the business' Facebook page: "Honored to be there with Women on Main businesses and Women's Workforce Council to see Mayor Menino's powerful address on City of Boston (Government) plan for empowering more women to economic success. Thank you!"
Walsh was equally excited about the Women on Main forum, "...creating a 'go to' forum for women-owned businesses will assist in removing some of the obstacles that we all face in doing business. Mayor Menino has always been gender blind and incredibly supportive of what we have been trying to do at Fairview Corner. We are delighted to see him in excellent health - providing leadership - and promoting progressive ideas."
Below is the portion of Mayor Menino's State of the City address that focused on women and gender equity. :
In 2013, we will also make Boston the premier city for working women. I am surrounded by strong women, starting with Angela, Susan, Lisa, and my granddaughters. My cabinet includes many remarkable women. Some I have known for years. Others have joined us more recently. (I didn’t find any of them in binders.) This year we elected our first woman United States senator. To outshine all cities we must unlock the potential of all of our women. Women make up more than half of Boston’s residents, but less than a third of our business owners. We can do better. Recent college graduates are earning less than their male classmates in the same jobs and with the same degrees. We can do better than that. And when mothers pursue their careers, many struggle to find affordable, quality childcare. We can certainly do better.
Tonight, I’m announcing a set of actions to support Boston’s women. First, I am launching “Women on Main”, a new networking forum for our women-owned businesses in Boston’s vibrant Main Streets districts. We will also use the new Boston Innovation Center to open up new fields to more women and better connect them to one another.
We must also make it easier to find quality child care. I will launch a $1 million Capital Resources for Educators fund. It will offer low interest loans for safe, quality environments for our children.
This year, we’re going to be the very first municipality to help young women negotiate for fair pay.
Finally, I’m proud to say that we will create our first-ever Women’s Workforce Council. I will invite business owners, executives, and young leaders to help me advocate with the women of our city. Among other steps, we will make Boston the first city in the country to achieve pay equity for women!