“You’ve come a long way, baby!” was the popular advertising slogan around the time of the second wave of the women’s movement. The idea was to move women closer to “fully equal partnership with men.” But feminists blew it by overlooking two essential additions to every competent woman’s handbag.

For equality to be complete, any multitasking, do-it-yourself woman needs to pack a pocketknife and a measuring tape.

After finishing out my working career in building trades, I know that every man who is worth his salt carries a pocketknife and a measuring tape on him. Though the measurements of cabinets were shown on the tag, each customer had to measure just to be sure. It is a good idea.

“This tag says it’s eighteen inches wide. It’s really seventeen and three-quarters.” a male customer would tell me.

The pocketknife? I am forever grateful for those who carried them, as my store had given us rounded tipped cutters because they were afraid of our employees hurting ourselves. So when it came to customers who needed fat, thick vinyl tubing that I affectionately tagged “the python,” I knew the customer who was worth his salt would slip out a pocketknife and cut it for himself.

Some companies have gotten the idea, like the long-standing European knife company who had outfitted the military with their multiuse tool. Now they offer a pink model out of respect for competent women. But I ask you, where is the measuring tape that goes with it?

You can bet that inside every handywoman’s handbag are the real equalizers: a purse-sized measuring tape and a pocket knife.

Consider Proverbs 31:17: “She sets about her tasks vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks.” Those guidelines for a good wife were written close to 3000 years ago by King Solomon, guidelines for a good wife. Whether or not you are a wife, you can be a God and Bible-powered woman.

A spiritual woman is a strong one—yesterday, today and tomorrow. You don’t have to tote cement blocks or patio paving stones to be the strong woman of character that God sees in you. He takes you as you are and goes from there. And God is with you in your journey for confidence and competence outside of your current comfort zone. You’re an amazing creation!

[Jo Russell is a Christian teacher, speaker, author of many articles, contributor to several anthologies, and Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women, Intermedia Publishing 2011. For more chuckles, keep checking her weekly blog on buttontogod.dev.]

About Jo Russell

Jo’s humor, inspirational stories, articles and devotionals have spanned more than 40 years, with several national writing contest awards for humor. She's a contributing author in Chicken Soup for the Soul—Shaping the New You and Heavenly Humor for the Dieter’s Soul.

Contact Jo

Find Jo on Twitter and Facebook. To schedule Jo as a speaker or to discuss your writing project and receive a free quote, call her at 928-536-2479. Or contact her using the website Contact Form.

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