Newly-reinstated Arkansas Women’s Commission getting to work
Gov. Asa Hutchinson has reinstated the Arkansas Women’s Commission and tasked the group with studying women in the workforce.
The commission will examine how many women are participating in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers and barriers to women in the workforce, the governor said.
“It will also provide an overview of the child care economy in our state which I see as very important, Hutchison said.
The commission is chaired by Alison Williams, Hutchinson’s chief of staff. The 14-member panel holds its first meeting Tuesday.
“In my administration, women are an essential part of my leadership team,” Hutchinson said in a statement. “I have relied upon women in leadership positions to bring success to my administration.”
Gov. Orval Faubus established the Women’s Commission in 1963. That group studied the social, political and economic status of women, according to information from Hutchinson’s office. Gov. Winthrop Rockefeller called for the next Women’s Commission that focused on the differences in the treatment of men and women in the workforce.
A commission called for by Gov. Dale Bumpers in 1973 studied how to increase the role of women in economic, political and social institutes, according to information from the governor’s office. The last Women’s Commission, called by Gov. David Pryor in 1975, focused on Title IX and the Equal Rights Amendment but did not file a report.
A lot has changed since the last report, Williams said.
“The last commission report noted that in 1973, women’s earnings were about 60% those of men here in the state,” Williams said. “Today that number is 80%, a significant increase, but parity.”
The commission will file its report before Dec. 1, Hutchinson said. The report will contain “actionable recommendation for the General Assembly and the governor to consider,” Williams said.
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