Women-owned businesses band together to celebrate International Women’s day

Push to shop at local, women-owned stores

TUCSON, AZ (KOLD News 13) - March 8, 2019 is International Women’s Day which started as a protest movement more than 100 years ago.

More than a million women marched in 1911 to protest the lack of a women's right to vote, work, hold public office and to end discrimination.

Today, it's more about celebrating women's achievements over the past century but also to bring attention to the work left to be done.

To see how far women's entrepreneurship has come, look no further than 4th Avenue in Tucson.

More that two dozen businesses on the avenue or near it, are women owned.

This month, in celebration of International Women's Day, the businesses have banded together to bring attention to their businesses and to help one another thrive.

A drawing will be held March 31, giving customers a chance to win prizes and gift certificates.

The experience starts at women owned Popcycle at 422 N. 4th, where customers can pick up a card with the names of the participating stores. It encourages to "shop women owned."

One of those participating is a start up owned by Erikha Montes. It’s called BRXA. She recently opened a shop at 174 E. Toole, around the corner from 4th, but also sells her self care products at Popcycle.

It's an example of women helping women, helping her with tax advice and other things owners need to learn when they're just starting out.

"It's an old cliché," she said. "But it's a man's world."

She's trying to help change that.

"We're not diminutive, we're not better, we're the same," she said. "We're not lesser human."

But she admits women don't get treated the same right now.

Across the street is Antigone Books, a woman owned store for half a century.

“We were born out of the women’s movement,” said co-owner Melissa Negelspach. “In the seventies.”

The feminist bookstore hopes to serve as an inspiration to others who may want to take the step to ownership.

"I think for young people, young women, I think it's saying and proof to them, this could be an avenue open to me," she said. "One day I could open a business, you know."

One of those who might do that is 21-year-old Natissya Meredith, a student who works at Rosie’s Barket, a woman owned business at 327 E. 7th Street.

“As a young women who is still trying to figure out what she wants to do with her life, it’s easier to talk with someone I can associate with,” she said. “Okay you were me at some point, how did you forge your way in a very masculine world.”

All three admit much progress has been made but there is still a long ways to go.

“Proving we can do the exact same things, that we work as hard,” said Montes. “And we’re always trying to get our foot in the door.”

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