Governor, Tear Down That Wall!
Governor, I know you’re wondering, “What wall?” so, I’ll tell you: It’s the wall that keeps you from putting a woman on the Highway Commission, the Game and Fish Commission, the Oil and Gas Commission and numerous other state commissions. Well, Governor, I guess, if we’re honest there are several “walls” that keep you from putting a woman on these commissions. Of course, the first wall is “There aren’t any qualified women.” Can you say that with a straight face to over a million and a half women in the state? Of course not! There are thousands of women in our state that are well qualified to be members of those or any commissions in the state. Then, if we agree that there are plenty of qualified women, the only other reason to not put women on these and other commissions is that they are “male only” commissions. Yes, it seems, that has been the primary reason to not place qualified women on these commissions. But “male only?” That sounds about as right as “colored restrooms.” If we can have women serving in a Marine Rifle Squad and other women working at Los Alamos to design nuclear weapons, it would seem a “male only” commission is a holdover from the 1950 or earlier.
When we read the newspaper and see another man being appointed to the Highway Commission or the Game and Fish Commission, we barely shrug our shoulders. Yes, that’s the way it has been as long as I can remember. But Governor, this isn’t Saudi Arabia. Arkansas women drive, and yes there are plenty of women who are civil engineers in our state, and of course, Arkansas women are as aware of our highway needs as any man in the state. But maybe are there other reasons certain commissions are male only? Do you think, these commissions, which are plum appointments, are passed out to big Republican or Democrat donors—uh, no Governor, I know you wouldn’t put a man on a particular commission just because he anted up some big bucks to the party—would you?
Yes, I’m speaking out for gender equality, because it’s the right thing to do. After all, if we believe in equal representation, every commission in the state should have at least equal representation by women. Actually, a recent national sturdy showed commissions that had women serving on them were, more successful than all male commissions.
Of course, I know women have made great strides in serving on commissions and other appointed position. But if we look back at history, the United Stated really hasn’t been a leader in gender equality. A hundred years ago women couldn’t even vote, and if you compare us with Western Europe, we fall way behind. Almost all of the countries in Western Europe have made significantly more progress in treating women equally than the United States. Some of these countries have even mandated legislatures and commissions have an equal number of women serving.
A recent study in the United States said, based on the slow progress being made in this county, it would be 2030 before we reach gender equality.
Governor, let’s lead the nation is gender equality, and not brag because we’re one step ahead of Mississippi.
Tear down that wall, Governor!