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Jared Kushner finally granted his security clearance. Also on our nationwide rundown: a new lawsuit seeks the release of a gay man from ICE Detention in Pennsylvania; and protecting an Arizona water source for millions near Phoenix.

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Women’s March Toward Equality Slow but Steady in Arkansas

The Women’s Foundation of Arkansas is working to advance the status of women through education, career advancement and leadership development. (iStockphoto)
The Women’s Foundation of Arkansas is working to advance the status of women through education, career advancement and leadership development. (iStockphoto)
August 26, 2016

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - Arkansas is a state where women's advocates say movement toward securing equality is sometimes slow, but they see enormous potential for future progress. August 26th is Women's Equality Day, set aside by Congress in 1971 to mark the 1920 passage of the 19th Amendment, that gave women the right to vote.

Anna Beth Gorman, executive director of the Women's Foundation of Arkansas said on many issues, progress has been hard to come by. She said her group's 2013 study on the status of women in Arkansas was an eye-opener.

"1973 was the last time concrete data had been collected about women, women in education, women in the workforce, women in politics," she said. "So we re-commissioned that report, and what we found in the span of 40 years, is that not a lot had changed."

Gorman said in Arkansas, women make about 78 cents for every dollar men are paid and that only 20 percent of women in the state have college degrees. She added with the state's minimum wage at about $8 an hour, a single mother with two kids who works a 40-hour week is most likely living in poverty.

She also said her group is working to organize Arkansas women to bring about social and economic change through the ballot box. She said education is the key to progress.

"We have more women enrolled in the university systems across Arkansas," she added. "Fifty-six percent of enrollees are women, but we're not graduating. From our perspective, when people have conversations about equal pay, we want to look at the root cause of that, which is, 'Why are we not getting there?'"

Gorman said while her foundation honors women's past accomplishments, it is focused more on advancing the status of women in the future by creating opportunities for education, career advancement and business and political leadership roles.

Mark Richardson, Public News Service - AR