Although U.S. history books are dominated by men, women have long played a major role in shaping the country's economy, politics, and culture.
Over the years, women have shed their aprons and cracked glass ceilings, evolving from housemaids and help mates to CEOs of major corporations and officials in high-ranking government posts.
In honor of March being Women's History Month, here are some fast facts about women:
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1. Of the more than 300 million people counted in the 2010 Census, 157 million were women.
2. In 2008, more than 85 million women were mothers, and women between the ages of 40 to 44 averaged 2.3 children.
3. In 2007, women owned 7.8 million businesses. Nearly half of all female-owned businesses operated in repair and maintenance, personal and laundry services, health care and social assistance, and professional, scientific, and technical services.
4. Almost 72 million women participated in the labor force, according to a 2010 survey by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and more than 40 percent worked in management and other professional occupations.
5. Women play an active role in serving their country through military service. In September, 2010, of the 205,500 women serving, 38,700 were officers and 166,800 were enlisted personnel, according to the U.S. Department of Defense. Women make up about 14 percent of active members in the U.S. armed forces, compared to less than 2 percent in 1950.
6. Women earned close to 60 percent of all college degrees in 2009. Experts say that number will rise in coming years.
7. In 2011, women held 16 percent of U.S. House and Senate seats and 22 percent of statewide elected executive offices. Women hold 23 percent of seats in state legislatures, and 17 percent of mayors of U.S. cities with populations over 30,000 are females.
8. Once upon a time, the idea of women working outside the home was frowned upon, and most of those who did work earned their money by taking in laundry or working as a maid or seamstress. In 1975, fewer than 47 percent of mothers worked. By 2010, almost 71 percent of women with children ages 6 to 17 worked, and of those women, three-quarters were employed full-time. About 57 percent of moms with children under 6 years old worked in 2010, according to the Department of Labor.
9. Of all patents granted in 2010, 18 percent went to women, while 33 percent of all trademarks granted to individuals and sole proprietorships went to women. The top categories for patents owned by women were chemistry, bio-affecting drugs, semiconductor device manufacturing, and furnishings. Industries with the highest trademark activity by women were clothing, education and entertainment, advertising and business, and "miscellaneous services -- scientific and technological services and design."
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