If you have ever used a circular saw, thank a woman.

Next time you load your dishwasher rather than washing plates and glasses by hand, thank a woman.

When it rains and you flick on your vehicle’s windshield wipers to clear your view, thank a woman.

Getting a shot isn’t any fun, but it is necessary to make or keep you well. Next time you face the needle, thank a woman.

Enjoy homemade ice cream? Thank a woman.

Do you savor the warm air generated by your car’s heater on a frigid winter day? Yep, you can thank a woman for that, too.

All of the above were invented by women. And that’s not all. Women also invented the Kevlar used in bulletproof vests, caller ID and call waiting, disposable diapers, laser cataract surgery, WiFi, GPS, Bluetooth and coffee filters, all were conceived of and designed by women.

So thank women for all these things. Oh, and if you are alive and breathing, thank a woman for that, too. There are plenty of ways to leave this old world but only one way in, and women play the major role in that process.

March is Women’s History Month and Wednesday is International Women’s Day. And lest you ask why there is no International Man’s Day, consider this. Globally, women earn 77 cents for every dollar earned by a man, according to the United Nations. Every day, it seems, is man’s day, and therein lies the problem.

As of last September, according to career website zippia.com, women made up 58.4% of the U.S. workforce but held only 35% of senior leadership positions. Of the CEOs of Fortune 500 firms, only 8.8% are women.

And it’s not like women are not highly qualified. In 2020, 41% of U.S. college graduates were women, while females earned 60% of all U.S. graduate degrees. In 2020, 53% of all doctorates went to women. But women with doctorates earned an average of $113,858 compared to the $155,485 earned by men. In fact men with masters’ degrees earned, on average, 3% more than women with doctorates.

As far as government is concerned, there are presently 15 countries led by women. In America, which has never elected a woman president, there are a record number of women serving in the 118th Congress, but that total is only 28% of the members of both houses.

And it’s not like women are a minority in this nation, men are. Females make up 51% of the U.S. population.

Perhaps it isn’t women’s history we should be concerned about this month and every month, but the challenges faced by women today and going forward.

Right here in the Sooner State, women aren’t faring well at all. In fact personal finance website WalletHub says Oklahoma is the worst state in the nation for women. Oklahoma ranks 47th in terms of women’s preventative health care, 45th in women’s life expectancy at birth, 43rd in the number of women living in poverty, 38th in the high school graduation rate for women and 40th in the number of unemployed women.

Things are changing, to be sure, but not very fast. The UN says that at the current rate of change, it will take 257 years to close the global gender pay gap, and that’s not even considering the business and political leadership gap.

Alas, the winds of change meet much opposition. An attempt by Illinois and Nevada to revive the Equal Rights Amendment, which failed in 1982, was struck down this week by a federal appeals court. The ERA was designed to guarantee equal legal rights for all U.S. citizens regardless of their sex.

Equal, equitable, fair, a level playing field for people regardless of their sex. It doesn’t seem like a concept that should be at all controversial. Why should a person’s plumbing determine their standing in today’s society. But equality between the sexes simply doesn’t exist in the land of the free and the home of the brave, and that isn’t likely to change anytime soon.

Frankly I’m surprised women have put up with this nonsense for as long as they have.

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Mullin is an award-winning writer and columnist who retired in 2017 after 41 years with the News & Eagle. Email him at janjeff2002@yahoo.com or write him in care of the Enid News & Eagle at PO Box 1192, Enid, OK, 73702.

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