Despite all the progress made over the past several decades, the "glass ceiling" hasn't been shattered. But it's carrying several serious cracks, and a number of women in Tahlequah have been responsible for wielding the hammer that did the deed.

October is National Women's Small Business Month – a time to celebrate the achievements of many who make up more than half of the U.S. population. Beginning with the early leaders of the suffrage movement, and continuing through the struggles of women to chart their own courses in the business world, the fate of the economic landscape has greatly changed over the past century – and it's all for the better.

In Cherokee County, the business community is composed of a comparatively high percentage of women. Looking at the downtown arena, it doesn't take much effort to spot women entrepreneurs, leading the way with stores that sell health foods, men's and women's clothing, jewelry and accessories, and all types of services. The ownership extends into other areas of town, and then into the rural areas of the county. Some women own businesses with their husbands or partners; others have gone it alone, chalking up success that even they may admit they didn't initially expect.

Some cynics might insist that "all business owners matter," and indeed, that's true. But it must be acknowledged that even today, women often have a tougher row to hoe than their male counterparts. This is why shining a spotlight on their efforts is so important.

In the Oct. 24 weekend edition, the Tahlequah Daily Press will publish a tab supplement that we hope will include around four dozen vignettes about area women business owners, managers, directors, CEOs, and anything else in terms of titles that constitutes leadership positions with businesses, institutions and organizations. Though we understand some potential participants may be too humble to toot their own horns, we hope they understand how important it is to share with readers their achievements – and that their successes are also the successes of their community.

Anyone who has a suggestion of a local woman who deserves to be profiled should drop us a note at news@tahlequahdailypress.com, with "Women in Business" in the subject line, and include contact information for her. Then, someone on the TDP team will reach out with a brief questionnaire, which should be answered and returned to us via email, along with a photograph. Also, anyone who would like to help sponsor this important project can call Heather Ruotolo or Joe Mack during regular business hours, 918-456-8833.

Because this is a separate publication that will be inserted into the regular paper, we'll need this information by Tuesday evening, Oct. 12. (We may accept some submissions a day or two later but must be notified by phone of the reason for the delay.)

We hope everyone will help us compile this tribute to the women who have made our community what it is today – and then show them your appreciation by helping further their success!

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