Arkansas, the Saudi Arabia of the South

Richard Mason
Arkansas, the Saudi Arabia of the South
Are you kidding, Richard? Actually, I am. That title is just to get your attention, but let’s be honest, there are a lot of things that go on in our fair state that are very similar to Saudi Aribia’s treatment of women. I checked on the Saudi Highway Commission or whatever they call it, and guess what? Now a woman on the commission. Actually, the highways are directed under a big umbrella of agencies that are totally void of females. And guess what? We match the Saudis in female Highway Commissioners! Yep, we don’t have a one, and I don’t think Arkansas has ever had one. I sure can’t remember any. Of course, women can’t even drive a car by themselves in Saudi Aribia. A man must be in the car with them. So at least we let our women drive, but what about other similarities? How does the commission that regulates hunting, fishing, and trapping in our state compare with the one in Saudi Aribia? Well, actually, it tough to tell who or what regulates anything that has to do with hunting etc, in Saudi land, but as far as I can tell the Saudis are right up there with us, with a big 0 women just as our Game and Fish Commission has 0 women. Well, we know why the Saudis don’t have any women on their boards, but what about dear, old Arkansas? “Huntin’ and finshin’ is for men and boys. Don’t y’all know that?” Maybe that’s the Governor speaking, but whatever, it’s what the numbers tell us. Well, do we have qualified women who hunt and fish? Of course we do. We have thousands of women who would make excellent commissioners; like Lisa Vickery of El Dorado. I would bet Lisa can out hunt and fish not only the bunch of old, white, fat, male commissions, but about 95% of the men in the state, and we have thousands just like Lisa waiting for the Governor’s call. “Pick up the phone, Asa!” Well, Asa did pick up the phone a few weeks back, and yes, he nominated another male Game and Fish Commissioner.
But what about other commissions? Like the Highway Commission? You guess it; the Saudis don’t have any woman on whatever they call their Highway Commission either, and in my memory and probably in the history of the state we have never had a female highway commissioner. We know over 50% of the drivers in our state are female, and some of them are right up there with Mario Andretti. Here in South Arkansas we have two women who have broken the one and a half hour mark from El Dorado to Little Rock. Yes, it’s a two hour drive at 65 to 70. Names withheld because…well you know why. Maybe those two wouldn’t be the best choice, since they would champion the German Autobahn speed limits, which have no speed limits, but we have others, thousands of others, such as Clara Jones of El Dorado: a well-educated, small business owner, who has traveled our state extensively, and her inclusion would give us a better commission. Actually, a national survey shows a mixed commission or board is more effective and productive than an all-male board or commission. Of course, there are thousands more Clara Jones around our fair state who would make excellent Highway Commissioners.
I could list dozens of boards and commissions around the state, which have no female members or have a token woman. Of course, here is nothing wrong with a token woman. Heck, it’s sure better than an all-male board, but there is a lot wrong with all the 100% male board. But just as sure as in 1900 when women couldn’t vote, but they knew one day they would vote, we will one day have every board and commission in our state gender equal. I guess the women in the 1900s who raised hell until they got the right to vote are an example of what should be happening today. We should be asking every elected official in the state if they support equal representation and equal pay for women, and if they won’t answer or do the old Texas Two Step—which is just dodging the question, vote ‘em out in the next election. They are just one step from “Keep ‘um barefoot and pregnant.” If you don’t believe me ask our elective officials why they won’t support equal pay for women and gender equality, (uh, for you folks north of Interstate 40, gender equality mean equal representation of men and women on boards and commissions,) sorry about that; I just couldn’t resist.
Of course, Western Europe is light years ahead of the curve on gender equality, and as an example, France’s new president has already stated his government will have equal representation of men and women on all government boards and commissions.
Yes, and even Saudi Arabia will have gender equality one day along with Arkansas…I do hope we at least beat the Saudis.


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