New York’s City and Toronto are set to open the first female shopping centre in the United States, as a key part of the government’s push to encourage more women to shop.
Toronto’s city council approved a motion on Thursday to open a female-owned clothing boutique at the corner of Bathurst and Jane streets.
The new location would be in the same block of Bathurgs that is home to one of Canada’s most successful online retailers, Joost.
“We’re excited to finally have the space we’re looking to open to women,” said Christine St-Jacques, president of the New York-based nonprofit Women in Business Association.
The move is a major step towards the 2020 goal of a half-dozen new female-run retail outlets across the country by 2030.
While the centre’s location has yet to be announced, it is expected to open in the summer of 2021, when the next council will elect a new mayor.
As part of its efforts to get more women into the workforce, Canada’s Ministry of Employment and Social Development has invested $150 million into female-focused retail, which aims to help employers find more qualified female workers.
But many women don’t want to go to the gym, or get out of their homes to shop, for fear of harassment and violence.
Ms St-Laurs said the shop would help women make ends meet while working out at home.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said the goal is to create a “new kind of shop that’s welcoming and welcoming to women and girls”.
“It’s a brand new way to make a living that we’re very proud of,” he said.
Mr de Blasio and other officials say that in New York, a number of other women-owned businesses have opened since the last major effort by New York to open more women-only stores.
In May, New York became the first US city to officially ban discrimination on the basis of gender, with the city’s mayor, Bill deBlasio, issuing an executive order to encourage businesses to create more women owned businesses.
Since then, dozens of other US cities have introduced similar measures, including San Francisco, San Diego and Austin, Texas.
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