Over the last decade, Arkansas (my home state) has frequently been ranked as one of the 10 worst states in the nation when it comes to issues like: (i) VIOLENCE -- Arkansas has one of the highest rates of aggravated assault and forcible rape in the country; (ii) EDUCATIONAL ATTAINMENT -- Arkansas residents are among the least educated in the country; (iii) TEEN PREGNANCY -- Arkansas had the 4th highest teen birth rate in the United States; (iv) SINGLE PARENT FAMILIES -- 1-in-5 Arkansas families are lead by single parents; and (iv) POVERTY -- nearly 20% of people live below the poverty line with median household income is the second lowest in the country, barely above $40,000. Our state's minimum wage is below that of the federal level and will not be raised to $8.50 until 2017 -- this is especially daunting to girls given that women represent nearly three-fifths of all minimum-wage workers.
Collectively, these types of issues are the driving forces behind gender inequality, which is why Arkansas was listed as one of the worst states for gender equality and why it is one of 9-states where women face the largest gender pay-gap.
Arkansas women are not alone facing these challenges. There are an estimated 1.75 billion women in the global workforce, yet currently, there's no country in the entire world where a woman earns as much as a man for doing the same job.
Even with a highly educated cohort of women in the United States, this country doesn't even make the top 10 list when it comes to gender equality, according to the 2015 World Economic Global Gender Gap Report. In fact, our ranking is the lowest the U.S. has held since the report was first issued in 2007.
While all states have high gender inequality, girls in California, Texas, and New York can find a surplus of resources to empower them to make a change, (not just for other girls but also for themselves), girls in Arkansas have been out of luck for the most part.