Local book store celebrates women

Pearl Street Book displays books by women

In honor of International Women’s Day and National Women’s History month, a local business is making sure women’s voices are heard.

On International Women’s Day Wednesday, many proudly displayed their support, may it be by wearing red or a shirt baring the words “The future is female.”

That includes Pearl Street Books, which has had a display for Women’s History month all March long.

“This display, I think, has brought in a lot of foot traffic,” said loyal customer Paige Rustad.

But display or no display, Paige Rustad is on a mission.

“I love this place,” she said. “I actually moved to this city because of this book store.”

She had this women’s day off, and celebrated in her favorite place in La Crosse, doing something she said can make a real impact.

“I came in to seek out a women author and buy a book by a woman author to celebrate today,” Rustad said.

Pearl Street Books employee Beth Hartung thought about staying home from work today to support A Day Without A Woman Movement, but said she can do more by putting books by women on display.

“That’s the part I can do, is connect people to stories,” she said.

Hartung says the odds are stacked against women writers.

“Look at the shelves,” she said. “Men are presented all over in our store.”

She believes female author’s words can help give women equal footing in the world.

“It’s about empathy and understanding,” Hartung said. “If women tell the story about how we make less than men and how that impacts (us), or how more women are living in poverty than men are living in poverty, or how women still struggle in the workplace to be treated equally, and if they tell that story, if they get that voice out there, I think it can change the way men see the world, too.”

Book in hand, Rostad is eager to gain insight from its pages.

May it be through a buying a book or wearing a shirt, she hopes people can write a new chapter for women.

“Keep the good fight because we’ll get there one day,” Rostad said.