I would be surprised if I didn’t use my credit card every week.

I like the convenience and building Southwest miles for free flights.

I pay it off every month. I owe that ritual to my parents. They taught me the importance of doing so, to not build debt. A few times in my life I carried a balance, but it quickly got paid off.

“Who cares?” you ask.

Women care.

It was 50 years ago that the Equal Credit Opportunity Act of 1974 became law. Prior to that for a woman to obtain a credit card or loan either her husband, father or brother had to be a co-signer.

That’s in my lifetime.

Unbelievable.

Tanaka Chimbane, an accredited financial counselor and assistant professor of personal financial planning at Texas Tech University, told U.S. News and World Report, “It marked a monumental shift in how women could engage with the economy and opened new avenues for personal and professional growth. Access to credit meant that women could start businesses, buy homes, invest in education and manage financial emergencies independently.”

It just shows how long women have been treated as second-class citizens. That we had to be dependent on a man. That we could not be trusted with financial matters.

What BS.

I got my first credit card when I was 17. Yes, my parents were involved. I got it because I was on my way to college. It had a credit limit of $500. I remember this because after trying to charge my books I hit the limit.

My memory is that a friend of my parents worked for Bank of America and got me the Visa. He also got my limit raised.

This card was in my name. It was mine. I was responsible for paying it. (Yes, my parents paid for my books and four of my five years of college.)

But I was building credit in my name. I didn’t understand that at 17 or even at 22 when I graduated. I do now. Still, I can’t get over that it took an act of Congress to give the same rights to women that men had.

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